Paper: General Studies Paper-II
Section: Indian Economy
Topic: Green Revolution and Regional disparity
Green Revolution, despite of several achievements is marred by serious defects. Examine.
The Green Revolution began in India in the mid- 1960s marking a transition from traditional agriculture to the introduction of high-yielding varieties of seeds and the associated agricultural techniques.
Amidst positives like – increase in production/productivity; self-sufficiency; generation of employment and increasing income of farmers; the green revolution had following negative impacts like:
- Reduction in Genetic Diversity: The planting of fewer crop varieties for producing high yields reduced genetic diversity among crop species. This has also led to the loss of distinct indigenous crops from cultivation and also caused extinction.
- Greater Vulnerability to Pests: The resistance to one species of pest due to genetic modification might invite other species of pests to attack the crop as in the case of bollworm being replaced by other pest species in case of Bt cotton.
- Displacement of Small Farmers: The Green Revolution has displaced the agricultural labourers, leading to rural unemployment due to introduction of mechanical innovations like tractors, combiners, thrashers etc.
- Land Degradation: The overuse of chemical fertilizers to get high yield has caused physical and chemical degradation of the soil by altering the natural microflora and increasing the alkalinity and salinity of the soil
- Ground Water Depletion: High-yielding crop varieties also increases irrigation requirements thus stressing India’s water budget.
- Ecological and Health Impacts: The excessive use of pesticides increases the presence of its residues in food and environment.
- Income Disparity Among Farmers: By requiring greater investments in agricultural production, the green revolution in India has placed small and marginal farmers at a distinct disadvantage.
- Increased Social conflicts: It led to polarisation of the rural society. It has created three types of conflicts in the rural community, namely, between large and small farmers, between owner and tenant farmer, between employers and employees on the agricultural farms.
There is a need of a more comprehensive policy environment that can protect farmers, human health and the environment from the negative impacts of the green revolution in India.
What do you understand by the term regional disparity? Briefly discuss the consequences of regional imbalances in India. Suggest appropriate measures to reduce regional imbalance in India.
Regional disparity refers to a situation where different indicators such as per capita income, consumption level, food availability, agricultural and industrial development, infrastructural development are not similar among different regions.
Consequences of Regional Imbalances in India
- Inter – State and Intra State Agitations: Regional disparities in economic and social development mainly due to the neglect of certain regions have created a demand for separate States like Vidharbha, Bodo land, Gorkhaland etc.
- Migration: Migration from backward areas to the developed areas in search of better livelihood. For example, migration from rural to urban.
- Social Unrest: Differences in prosperity and development leads to friction between different sections of the society causing social unrest. For example, Naxalites in India are spread mostly in those areas which have been neglected for long time and are under-development and economically backward.
- Pollution: Centralization of industrial development at one place leads to air and sound pollution.
- Housing, Water Problem: Establishment of several industries at one place leads to shortage of houses as a result rental charges increase abnormally. Also, over population leads to water crisis.
- Aggregation of the Imbalance: Once an area is prosperous and has adequate infrastructure for development, more investments pour-in neglecting the less developed regions. Thus, an area which is already prosperous develops further.
Suggestions to Reduce Regional Imbalances
- Identification of the Backward Areas and Allocation of Funds: Special attention should be paid by the Government in preparing and implementing special plans and models suited to these for the overall development of Backward areas on the lines of Special Area Programmes like Desert Development Programme, Drought Prone Area Programme, etc.
- Incentives: Incentives should be provided for promoting investments in the backward regions.
- Growth Corridors: Growth corridoes comprising of education zones, agricultural zones and industrial zones should be operationalised for the rapid development of zones backward areas within the states.
- Encouragement Through Rewards: A system of rewarding States (including developed States) for achieving significant reduction in intra-State disparities should be introduced.
Regional imbalance is a threat to the goal of inclusive growth and reduction of poverty. The growing regional disparities have dampened the speed of further economic reforms, and hence may pose a barrier to India’s future economic growth. Thus it is imperative to work for the mitigation of regional disparity on war footing.