The major benefits of the Green Revolution were experienced mainly in northern and northwestern India between 1965 and the early 1980s; the program resulted in a substantial increase in the production of food grains, mainly wheat and rice. Food-grain yields continued to increase throughout the 1980s, but the dramatic changes in the years between 1965 and 1980 were not duplicated. By FY 1980, almost 75 percent of the total cropped area under wheat was sown with high-yielding varieties. For rice the comparable figure was 45 percent. In the 1980s, the area under high-yielding varieties continued to increase, but the rate of growth overall was slower. The eighth plan aimed at making high-yielding varieties available to the whole country and developing more productive strains of other crops.
The Green Revolution created wide regional and interstate disparities. 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. These inputs were easily available in at least parts of the states of Punjab, Haryana, and western Uttar Pradesh; thus, 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. The Green Revolution also increased income disparities: 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.
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The Green Revolution has also been criticized as unsustainable. It requires immense amounts of capital each year to purchase equipment and fertilizers. This may lead to a cycle of debt if a farmer is unable to pay off the loans required each year. Additionally, the crops require so much water that water tables in some regions of India have dropped dramatically. If this drop continues, it is possible that the process of desertification may take place. Already, the low water is starting the process of salinization. If continued, this would leave the land infertile, spelling disaster for India.
In 2006, Dr Norman Borlaug, widely known as the ‘Father of India’s Green Revolution’, was presented India’s second highest civilian honour, the Padma Vibhushan, by India’s ambassador in Mexico City.