Green Revolution, Bringing Green Revolution in Eastern India (BGREI)

PMF IAS Environment

India’s first Green Revolution

  • Rapid growth in food grain production from using seeds of high yielding variety is termed as Green Revolution.
  • The high yielding varieties (HYVs) of wheat and rice have been the key elements in Indian green revolution.
  • Though the term “green revolution” refers to wheat and rice, some agricultural scientists include maize, soyabean and sugarcane where spectacular gains in yield have occurred.
Aspects of first Green Revolution:
  • High Yielding Varieties (HYV)
  • Use of Chemical Fertilizers and Pesticides
  • Mechanization of Agriculture
  • Irrigation

Introduction of High Yielding Varieties (HYV)

  • In 1960s, the average national yield of wheat was very low as compared to the wheat yields of agriculturally advanced countries.
  • MS Swaminathan, former Director General of ICAR (Indian Council of Agricultural Research) stressed the need for reorientation of the entire breeding programme of tall varieties.
  • On the request of Indian breeders Norman E. Borlaug was invited from Mexico in 1963 by the Government of India to assess the possibilities of using dwarf varieties in India.
  • Borlaug recommended the feasibility of using semi dwarf wheat of Mexican origin as the agro-climatic condition prevailing in India are similar to Mexico.
  • On his recommendation two semi dwarf varieties namely Lerma Rajo and Sonora-64 were chosen and were released for cultivation in irrigated fields.
  • These varieties gave very high yield and brought in revolution in wheat production.
  • In 1970, Norman E. Borlaug was awarded Nobel prize for “Green Revolution” which also helped India.
  • Through extensive wheat breeding programmes carried out during 1970-80, new amber seeded, high yielding dwarf wheat varieties were developed.
  • The important high yielding varieties responded favourably to fertilizer and irrigation.

Use of Chemical Fertilizers and Pesticides

  • Nitrogenous fertilizers: Nitrogen containing fertilizers e.g. ammonium sulphate, ammonium nitrate and urea.
  • Phosphate fertilizers: Phosphate containing fertilizers e.g. ammonium phosphate, calcium dihydrogen phosphate (superphosphate).
  • Potassium fertilizers: Potassium containing fertilizers e.g. potassium sulphate and potassium nitrate.
  • Nitrogenous fertilizers promote plant growth and are essential for food production.
  • Pesticides are chemicals which have been developed to kill or control organisms called pests which are unwanted in agriculture.

Mechanization of Agriculture

  • Increase in productivity on large areas of land brought the idea of farm mechanization.
  • To cope up with the shortage of agricultural labour, farm mechanization was the obvious choice for completing agricultural operations.
  • The machines which perform various jobs at the farm are water pump, ploughs, combine harvesters, land levellers, cultivators, power operated tractor sprays, reapers, threshers, trolleys and mechanical pickers etc.

Irrigation

  • High yielding varieties usually require a lot of water and hence irrigational facilities were a prerequisite for green revolution.
  • Wells: There are two types of wells, namely dug wells and tube wells. This kind of irrigation is widely practiced in plain regions of India. Overexploitation of wells is well observed in Punjab-Haryana region.
  • Canals: This is usually an elaborate and extensive irrigation system. In this system canals receive water from one or more reservoirs or from rivers. Canal irrigation is well suited for regions with clayey soil as clayey soil prevents water percolation. Mostly practiced in south India and Ganga-Yamuna region.
  • River Lift Systems: In areas where canal flow is insufficient or irregular due to inadequate reservoir release, the lift system is more rational. Water is directly drawn from the rivers for supplementing irrigation in areas close to rivers. Mostly practiced in South India.
  • Tanks: These are small storage reservoirs, which intercept and store the run-off of smaller catchment areas.

Second Green Revolution for Sustainable Livelihood

  • The first Green Revolution was to ensure food security as there was severe scarcity of food in the country.
  • The second Green Revolution aims at creating sustainable agriculture by leveraging advancements in technology.

Need for Second Green Revolution

  • With the growing population and over-exploitation of land resources, the pressure on food security will continue and rise.
  • 65% of the population is still living in the villages and over 70% of the rural people are dependent on agriculture for their livelihood.
  • Green Revolution, launched in mid-1960s, was mainly confined to well irrigated areas. It was not successful in rain-fed areas, which contribute significantly to the country’s total food-grain production.
  • The Green Revolution has made us self-sufficient in food grains, but the environmental consequences and ecological costs are offsetting the progress made.
  • The ground water is depleted and polluted. The lakes and ponds are becoming life less due to eutrophication – a direct consequence of Green Revolution.
  • Growth in the agricultural sector has been almost stagnant.
  • GM Crops are marred in various controversies related to intellectual property, ecological consequences, health consequences etc.
  • Global warming is said to engulf productive coastal lands due to rise in sea levels. This creates an urgent need to raise agricultural productivity.
  • It is necessary to develop a suitable strategy to improve agricultural development in India.

What we want from Second Green Revolution

  • Improving agricultural production while generating gainful self-employment for the small farmers and weaker sections of the society.
  • Scaling up food production without disturbing the ecological balance.
  • Boosting agricultural development, women empowerment and environmental protection. (Women are the major power in agriculture as about 65-70% of the labour in crop production is contributed by women).
  • Reclaiming degraded and low fertile lands and lands deprived of irrigation.

Bringing Green Revolution in Eastern India (BGREI)

  • Green Revolution that turned India from ‘begging bowl’ to leading producer of food-grains.
  • BGREI is about binging similar benefits to eastern India that largely remained untouched of the wonder that converted the north-west into a ‘grain bowl’.
  • BGREI is flagship programme under Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana (RKVY).
  • It is intended to address the constraints limiting the productivity of “rice based cropping systems”.
  • The BGREI program was announced in the Union Budget, 2010-11.
  • BGREI focuses on bringing the second Green Revolution in eastern region, which has rich water resources.
  • Assam, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Odisha, West Bengal and eastern Uttar Pradesh (Purvanchal) are the seven states.

Objectives of BGREI

  • Harness the water potential for enhancing agriculture production in Eastern India which was hitherto underutilized.
  • Yield maximization of rice and wheat per unit area by improving agronomy, water harvesting and conservation; and water utilization.
  • Promotion of recommended agriculture technologies.

Government Initiatives to Strengthen BGREI

  • The ICAR has established IARI, Hazaribagh in Jharkhand and Indian Institute of Agricultural Biotechnology, Ranchi.
  • It has also established National Research Centre for Integrated Farming at Motihari in Bihar to further strengthen the agricultural research for the eastern region.

Making Second Green Revolution a Success

Precision Agriculture
  • The wealth of data if harnessed appropriately, can help farmers make the most efficient use of vital inputs such as water and fertilizer by applying them in precise amounts.
  • Testing of samples of soil from agricultural fields is vital for achieving nutrient stewardship.
  • Mobile-based applications for farmers will form an important part of the data-driven precision agriculture approach.
Efficient Use of Water
  • Laser levelling is a technology that can grade an agricultural field to a flat surface by using a laser-guided scraper.
  • Laser levelling has been shown to improve crop yields, reduce labour time spent weeding, and, in particular, reduce water use for irrigation by up to 20-25 per cent.
  • Developing additional water sources through tube wells, dug wells and farm ponds.
  • Promotion of Flood, Drought, and Salinity tolerant rice varieties.
  • Use of Drum seeders for timely planting of direct seeded rice.
Sustainable Agricultural Practices
  • Cultivation practices to increase biological and economic stability.
  • Selection of improved varieties to suit the need.
  • Soil management by proper method of tillage.
  • Organic farming.
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