Q. Why did the Green Revolution in India virtually by-pass the eastern region despite fertile soil and good availability of water?
The Green Revolution in India refers to a period when Indian agriculture was converted into an industrial system due to the adoption of modern methods and technology such as the use of high yielding variety (HYV) seeds, tractors, irrigation facilities, pesticides, and fertilizers. It was mainly found by M.S. Swaminathan. But its extent was limited only to few northers states and southern states only and all most all of eastern region was left behind despite having fertile soil and water availability.
Green Revolution in India virtually by-pass the eastern region despite fertile soil and good availability of water. WHY?
More than 80% of the total land holdings in Eastern India were / are small and marginal land holdings. Financial constraints in eastern part of India played a prohibitive role in acquiring new technology and costly HYV seeds, fertilizers and pesticides. Bihar and Odisha were most poor states in the Indian Union having substantial number of households below the poverty line, majority of the farmers practiced subsistence farming in low value crops. Credit facilities were also less adequate in eastern states as compared to those who did well. For example, Punjab had a greater number of scheduled commercial banks per lakh of population.
One of the major goals of the Green Revolution was for India to achieve selfsufficiency, which is why the focus was on crops such as wheat which Indi was in dire need of in order to feed its rapidly increasing population. Therefore, it was appropriate to choose areas that already produced the crops in question, and increase their yield and productivity.
The cropping pattern in Eastern India was traditionally dominated by rice and other low value crops. Rice responded late to new technology but meanwhile western region marched ahead with jumps in production of wheat, maize and bajra.
This region was bypassed due to institutional factors. It has been established that the best performing areas in Green Revolution were under under Mahalwari region in Punjab. Although Zamindari system was abolished, yet its influence remained in the eastern parts of India.
Punjab had a literacy rate higher than all India average and farmers were more aware of the potential benefits of new technologies and agricultural practices. This led to a more successful green revolution in Punjab as compared to eastern region where farmer were not ready to assimilate new practices.
The average size of land holding in eastern region was smaller, making it less suitable for adoption new technology and mechanization under Green Revolution.
High population pressure on land, combined with relatively low cropyields, results in lower average per capita income for farm households in the Eastern regions.
The region is also highly vulnerable to climate change and thus suffers from high inter-year crop yield variability.
Power supplies and irrigation facilities were not sufficient in eastern Indian states and other infrastructural requirements which could usher green revolution were not adequate in eastern states such as roads, communication, transport facilities, irrigation systems etc.
The inadequate policy and inappropriate governmental support kept farmers away from the collection of required finance for adopting scientific method.
The lack awareness among the farmers of the region made them unaware of scientific methods like- using HYV seeds and chemicals Aim of the policy was to remove food shortage and once it was achieved even with limited number of states, others states weren’t given the desired focus.
The Green Revolution Strategy laid excessive emphasis on increasing production at any cost. Excessive emphasis on increasing production led to by passing the eastern region despite fertile soil and good availability of water.