Limitations of the Green Revolution

(1) Even today, India's agricultural output sometimes falls short of demand. The Green Revolution, however impressive, has thus not succeeded in making India totally and permanently self-sufficient in food. In1979 and 1987, India faced severe drought conditions due to poor monsoon; this raised questions about the whether the Green Revolution was really a long-term achievement. In 1998, India had to import onions. (This was a deliberate mistake by the beurocrats) However, in today's globalised economic scenario, 100 per cent self-sufficiency is not considered as vital a target as it was when the world political climate was more dangerous due to the Cold War.

(2) India has failed to extend the concept of high-yield value seeds to all crops or all regions. In terms of crops, it remain largely confined to foodgrains only, not to all kinds of agricultural produce. In regional terms, only Punjab and Haryana states showed the best results of the Green Revolution. The eastern plains of the River Ganges in West Bengal state also showed reasonably good results. But results were less impressive in other parts of India.

(3) Nothing like the Bengal Famine can happen in India again. But it is disturbing to note that even today, there are places like Kalahandi (in India's eastern state of Orissa) where famine-like conditions have existed for many years and where some starvation deaths have also been reported. Of course, this is due to reasons other than availability of food in India, but the very fact that some people are still starving in India (whatever the reason may be), brings into question whether the Green Revolution has failed in its overall social objectives though it has been a resounding success in terms of agricultural production.

(4) The Green Revolution cannot therefore be considered to be a 100 percent success Nobel Laureate Borlaug complains that the higher yields of the miracle seeds were meant to give the underdeveloped nations some time to reduce their population growth and begin upgrading their citizens' nutrition. Instead, he says, "Our efforts to buy time have been frittered away because political leaders in developing nations have refused to come to grips with the population monster."