After 1965, the introduction of high-yielding varieties of seeds and the increased use of fertilizers and irrigation made India self-sufficient in food grains. This substantial increase in production and improvement in agriculture in India is known as the Green Revolution. Famine, once accepted as inevitable in India, has not returned since the introduction of Green Revolution crops.
On the lines of the successful agricultural development process in Mexico by Norman Borlaug in 1943, India started the programme with the help of the US-based Rockefeller Foundation. It was based on high- yielding varieties of wheat, rice, and other grains that had been developed in Mexico and in the Philippines. Of the high-yielding seeds, wheat produced the best results. All India Radio (AIR) is credited for playing a vital role in creating awareness for these methods. Along with high yielding seeds and irrigation facilities, the enthusiasm of farmers mobilized the idea of agricultural revolution.
The major benefits of the Green Revolution were experienced mainly in northern and northwestern India between 1965 and the early 1980s. Though the food-grain yields continued to increase throughout the 1980s, the dramatic changes in the years between 1965 and 1980 were not! duplicated. By FY 1980, almost 75 per cent of the total cropped area! under wheat was sown with high-yielding varieties. For rice the] comparable figure was 45 per cent.
The plan was implemented only in areas with assured supplies of] water and the means to control it, large inputs of fertilizers, and adequate! farm credit. Since these inputs were easily available in parts of Punjab, Haryana, and western Uttar Pradesh, yields increased most in these states. In other states, such as Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu, in areas where these inputs were not assured, the results were limited or negligible, leading to considerable variation in crop yields within these states.
Thus, the Green Revolution created wide regional and interstate disparities. It also increased income disparities as higher income growth and reduced incidence of poverty were found in the states where yields increased the most and lower income growth and little change in the incidence of poverty in other states.
Operation Flood or White Revolution was a rural development programme started by India’s National Dairy Development Board (NDDB) in 1970. One of the largest of its kind, the programme objective was to create a nationwide milk grid. It is called White Revolution of India as it resulted in making India the largest producer of milk and milk products. It also helped reduce malpractices by milk traders and merchants. This revolution followed the Green Revolution and helped in alleviating poverty and famine levels from their dangerous proportions in India during the era.
The engine behind the success of Operation Flood was Anand Milk Union Limited (or Amul), which in turn became a mega company based on the cooperative approach. Verghese Kurien (Chairman of NDDB at that time), then 33, gave the professional management skills and necessary thrust to the cooperative, and is considered the architect of India’s White Revolution.
Operation Flood has helped dairy farmers, direct their own development, placing control of the resources they create in their own hands. A ‘National Milk Grid’, links milk producers throughout India with consumers in over 700 towns and cities, reducing seasonal and regional price variations while ensuring that the producer gets a major share of the price consumers pay. The bedrock of Operation Flood has been village milk producers’ cooperatives, which procure milk and provide inputs and services, making modern management and technology available to members.
Operation Flood was implemented in three phases. Phase I (1970- 1980) was financed by the sale of skimmed milk powder and butter oil donated by the European Union (then the European Economic Community) through the World Food Programme. NDDB planned the programme and negotiated the details of EEC assistance. During this phase, 18 of India’s premier milk sheds were linked with consumers in India’s major metropolitan cities: Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai. As a result, mother dairies were established in these four metros.
During Phase II (1981-1985), the milk sheds were increased from 18 to 136 and 290 urban markets expanded the outlets for milk. By the end of 1985, a self-sustaining system of 43,000 village cooperatives with 42.5 lakh milk producers were covered. Domestic milk powder production increased from 22,000 tons in the pre-project year to 140,000 tons by 1989, all of the increase coming from dairies set up under Operation Flood. Direct marketing of milk by producers’ cooperatives increased by several million litres a day, thus, promoting self-reliance.
Phase III (1985-1996) enabled dairy cooperatives to expand and strengthen the infrastructure required to procure and market increasing volumes of milk. Veterinary first-aid health care services, feed and artificial insemination services for cooperative members were extended, along with intensified member education. This phase consolidated India’s dairy cooperative movement and added 30,000 new dairy cooperatives to the 42,000 existing societies organized during Phase II.
Milk sheds peaked to 173 in 1988-89 with the numbers of women members and Women’s Dairy Cooperative Societies increasing significantly. There was an increased emphasis on research and development in animal health and animal nutrition. Further, innovations like vaccine for Theileriosis, bypassing protein feed and urea-molasses mineral blocks, all contributed to the enhanced productivity of mulch animals.
In short, White Revolution was much more than a dairy programme. Rather, dairying was seen as an instrument of development, generating employment and regular incomes for millions of rural people. It can be viewed as a twenty year experiment confirming the Rural Development Vision which resulted in increase in milk production, augmenting rural incomes and providing fair prices to consumers.
Blue Revolution is the water equivalent of the green revolution and primarily refers to the management of water resources that can steer humanity to achieve drinking water and crop irrigation security. The aim of the ongoing Blue Revolution is to rapidly increase fish production in small ponds and water bodies, a boon to small farmers, the nation’s nutrition and its gross domestic product.
It has resulted in increase of fish production to five million tonnes from only six lakh tonnes of fish fifty years ago. This includes 1.6 million tonnes of fish from freshwater aquaculture. Although the yield from marine fisheries has stagnated, freshwater aquaculture is growing at a healthy 6 per cent a year.
The Central Institute of Freshwater Aquaculture (CIFA), India’s largest centre of its kind has been the source of much of the science that has driven the growth of Indian inland aquaculture. The institute began the challenging task of turning what was a minor village tradition into a science that not only could increase the tonnage of fish per volume of water but also cope with inevitable problems that come with more intensive production, such as how to feed fish economically and how to deal with sudden outbreaks of disease brought on by crowded conditions.
India farms 1.6 million tonnes of freshwater fish per year compared to the estimated domestic demand of 4.5 million tonnes. Of the 2.2 million hectares of freshwater bodies, only 8,00,000 hectares are currently utilized. Even India’s vast distances, hot climate and vegetarian tradition do not place insurmountable obstacles in the way of expansion.