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Agriculture Inputs and Green Revolution

20-OCT-2015 15:04

    Green Revolution in India resulted in increased productivity of different crops. The main instruments behind this increment were the use of high yielding variety seeds, chemical fertilizers and new technology which led to a sharp rise in agricultural productivity during the middle 1960s. The credit for this improvement goes to Nobel laureates Dr. Norman Borlaug and Dr. M.S. Swaminathan. This revolution increased the production of Wheat 2.5 times; Rice 3 times, Maize 3.5 times, Jowar 5 times and Bajra 5.5 times.

    Instruments which promoted Green Revolution are given below:


    Increase in agricultural production and productivity depends, to a large extent, on the availability of water, hence the importance of irrigation. However, the availability of irrigation facilities is highly inadequate in India. For example, in 1950-51, gross irrigated area as percentage of gross cropped area was only 17 per cent. Despite massive investments on irrigation projects over the period of planning, gross irrigated area as percentage of gross cropped area was only 45.3 per cent in 2009-10 (88.42 million hectares out of 195.10 million hectares). Even now, almost 55 per cent of gross cropped area depends on rains. That is why Indian agriculture is called 'a gamble in the monsoons'.

    Reasons for increased Irrigation in the Indian context

    • Insufficient, uncertain and irregular rains
    • Higher productivity on irrigated land
    • Multiple cropping possible
    • Role in new agricultural strategy: The successful implementation of the High-Yielding Varieties Programme depends, to a large extent, on the timely availability of ample water supply
    • Bringing more land under cultivation: The total reporting area for land utilisation statistics was 305.69 million hectares in 2008-09. Of this, 17.02 million hectares was barren and unproductive land, 10.32 million hectares fallow land other than current fallows, while 14.54 million hectares was the current fallow land. Cultivation on all such lands is impossible in some cases while in others it requires substantial capital investment to make land fit for cultivation
    • Reduces instability in output levels: Irrigation helps in stabilising the output and yield levels. A study carried out for 11 major States over the period 1971-84 revealed that the degree of instability in agricultural output in irrigated areas was less than half of that in unirrigated areas.
    • Indirect benefits of irrigation: Irrigation confers indirect benefits through increased agricultural production. Employment potential of irrigated lands increases, increased production helps in developing allied activities, means of water transport are improved, income of government from agriculture increases, etc.

    Irrigation Potential and Sources of Irrigation

    India has vastly increased its irrigation potential since Independence. It increased from 22.6 million hectares in 1950-51 to 102.8 million hectares in 2006-07 which implies an increase of 35.5 per cent.  Sources of irrigation in India can be divided into the following:

    (i) Canals

    (ii) Wells

    (iii) Tanks

    (iv) Others

    Approximately 26.3 per cent of the irrigated areas in India are watered by canals. This includes large areas of land in Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and parts of southern States. Taken together, canals and wells watered 87.3 per cent of net irrigated area in 2008-09. Tank irrigation is resorted to mostly in Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and parts of West Bengal and Bihar.

    Some Problems Related to Irrigation

    1. Delays in completion of Projects.
    2. Inter-State water disputes.
    3. Regional disparities in irrigation development.
    4. Water logging and salinity: Introduction of irrigation has led to the problems of water logging and salinity in some of the States. The Working Group constituted by the Ministry of Water Resources in 1991 estimated that about 2.46 million hectares in irrigated commands suffered from water logging.
    5. Increasing costs of irrigation: The factors contributing to increase in costs are the following: (i) non-availability of comparatively better sites for construction in earlier plans; (ii) inadequate preparatory survey and investigations leading to substantial modification in scope and design during construction; (iii) the tendency to start far too many projects that can be accommodated within the funds available for irrigation.
    6. Losses in operating irrigation projects: The water charges have been kept too low to cover even working expenses, not to speak of depreciation charges and contributing even a moderate return on the investments.
    7. Ageing of infrastructure and increased siltation: Almost 60 per cent of the total dams of the country are more than two decades old. Canal networks also need annual maintenance.
    8. Decline in water table: There has been a steady decline in water table in the recent period in several parts of the country, especially in the western dry region, on account of overexploitation of groundwater and insufficient recharge from rainwater.


    Indian farmers use only one-tenth the amount of manure that is necessary to maintain the productivity of soil. Indian soil is deficient in nitrogen and phosphorus and this deficiency can be made good by an increased use of fertilizers. Since possibilities of extensive cultivation are extremely limited because most of the cultivable area is already being cultivated, there is no option but to extend intensive cultivation in more and more areas by using larger quantities of fertilizers.

    Consumption, Production and Import of Fertilisers

    The production of fertilisers has increased by leaps and bounds in the post-Independence period. For instance, from 98 thousand tonnes in 1960-61, production of nitrogenous fertilisers shot up to 12,156 thousand tonnes in 2010-11. The production of phosphate fertilisers rose from 52 thousand tonnes in 1960-61 to 4,222 thousand tonnes in 2010-11.

    Other instruments are:

    1. Tractors
    2. Trolley
    3. Trillers
    4. Haverstor
    5. Thasher
    6. Tubewell
    7. Canals
    8. Ponds

    So it can be concluded that the availability of the instruments and the productivity of the agriculture is positively related to each other. If the instruments are available to the farmers then increment in the productivity is inevitable.

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