This article uses the Green Revolution in India to illustrate Social Development Theory

The Green Revolution in India is a good example of a planned development initiative that brings out all the essential features of the development process. Until 1960 agriculture in India did not differ markedly from what it had been during the colonial period stretching back 200 years ago. The Green Revolution is usually described as the introduction of hybrid varieties of wheat and rice, but the adoption of hybrids alone is not sufficient to explain the phenomenal achievements of the Green Revolution. Success was made possible by a comprehensive and well-coordinated program involving multiple changes in the way society managed the production of food.

Prior to the launch of the Green Revolution, Indian agriculture was largely based on subsistence-level farming which did not generate sufficient production to meet the country’s food requirements. In the past this had led to periodic food shortages and famines which were managed by huge imports from abroad. Green Revolution was an attempt to break out of this condition and increase food production to make the country self-sufficient.

The Indian government realized that it needed to do many things to win the cooperation of the Indian farmers in order to make the green revolution successful. First, farmer had to be convinced that acceptance of the hybrid varieties would lead to increased yields. Then an assurance had to be given that increased production would not lead to decreased prices as commonly occurred in the past during years of bumper harvest. The government had to make arrangements to ensure supply of quality seeds, fertilizers and make provision for adequate storage space. It also had to train a huge network of extension agents to impart the necessary training to farmers so that they carry out the cultivation correctly.

The government accomplished all this by setting up many new organizations. It set up Food Corporation to buy food grains from surplus production areas and distribute it in areas afflicted with shortage. It constituted an Agricultural Pricing Commission to ensure a minimum floor price to farmers so that there was no disincentive for increased production. Seed and fertilizer corporations were formed to ensure supply of good quality seeds and timely supply of fertilizers etc. Agricultural scientists were motivated to do their work better by the offer of better pay scales and greater infrastructural facilities. On top of all this the government established 100,000 demonstration plots across the country to prove to the farmers that the hybrid varieties were indeed more productive. [1]

The Green Revolution succeeded not only because it was a planned initiative but also because it was a conscious and well-conceived program. It adopted the right approaches and was alive to the needs and aspirations of the farmers. Therefore it was well received. The planning and awareness exhibited in the project helped create a higher level organization that could harness the enthusiasm and energies of the farmers more effectively.

Planned development differs from natural development in the sense that it is a program sponsored by the government in an attempt to accelerate the development process that would otherwise take place slowly or perhaps not occur at all. The success of a planned initiative depends very much on its ability to ensure the terms and conditions that help the natural process succeed. Many planned government initiatives fail because they are begun without the proper understanding of the conditions necessary for their fulfillment. During the 1960s only the Government of India had the resources necessary to launch a massive program of such dimensions. But today, India’s private sector is perhaps even better equipped than government to bring about rapid development as illustrated by the dramatic expansion of the country’s IT industry.

The Green Revolution was so successful that it enabled India to achieve food self-sufficiency within 5 years and a doubling of food production within 10 years. This was totally unexpected and took even the experts by surprise. More than the increased food production, the elevation of agricultural operation in India to a higher level of organization was a more noteworthy achievement. It was a perfect demonstration of the success that a planned initiative could achieve when implemented with the required knowledge and awareness.

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