What is Green Revolution?

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what is green revolution

The Green revolution was an agricultural reform that increased the production of crops worldwide between 1950 up till the late 1960s. It includes the use of high-end techniques and technologies along with good quality raw materials to enhance the production of crops. The advent of this technology changed global agriculture and prevented various developing countries, including India from a mass famine. Wondering who started it in India or who is the father of Green Revolution? Or What are its main features? Then read on to this blog and find out everything about Green Revolution in India as well as the world!

Revolution Period 1950 – the late 1960s.
Founder Norman Borlaug
Father of Green Revolution in India M.S. Swaminathan
Aim Adoption of High Yielding Variety (HYV)
Up-gradation in irrigation facilities and use of more effective fertilizers.

Do you know? The term “Green Revolution” is applied to successful agricultural experiments in many Third World countries. It is not specific to India. But it was most successful in India.

Quick Facts About the Green Revolution for UPSC

The green revolution was a major topic not only in India but across the world. Here are a few facts about this unique revolution. 

  • Science and technology were the crucial ways to establish the this Revolution.
  • Norman Borlaug is known as the Father of the Green Revolution in the world.
  • The Father of the Green Revolution in India was M.S. Swaminathan.
  • The use of chemical fertilizers is affecting the planet’s air and water with an increase in carbon emissions.
  • This Revolution had a considerable effect on human health.
  • It had a major effect on global biodiversity.
  • It was a factor in the Cold War.
  • The breeding of HYV crops focused on cereal and staple crops.

History and Overview of the Green Revolution

Norman Borlaug, an American scientist, is credited with the beginning of the Green Revolution. While researching in Mexico in 1904s, he developed new High Yielding Varieties of wheat that had high disease resistance. As Mexico was equipped with high-end mechanized agriculture technologies, it was able to produce surplus and hence, became one of the biggest exporters of wheat by the 1960s. Before the use of these varieties, almost half of the wheat of the country was being imported. 

Observing the success of the Green revolution in Mexico, The skin gained popularity across the globe in the 1950s and 1960s. After adopting the technologies in the 1950s, the US not only sufficed its own needs but became an exporter of wheat which was earlier an importer in the 1940s. 

Following the US, many countries around the globe benefited from the Green Revolution. India was also one amongst them which was on the verge of famine in the early 1960s due to its massive population growth but later on became a wheat exporter. Later on, Borlaug and For Foundation researched by developing a new variety of rice named IR8. Now, India is one of the largest producers of rice especially IR8 rice. 

Green Revolution
Credits – LinkedIn

Famed as the man who fed the world and the Father of the Green Revolution, Norman Borlaug is an American Agriculture Scientist who developed new disease resistance high-yield varieties of wheat.  

What is Green Revolution in India?

“If agriculture goes wrong, nothing else will have a chance to go right in our country.”
– M. S Swaminathan

The initial years of the post-independence period saw the Indian agricultural system at its worst. Lack of funds, low yielding raw material, a dearth of machinery and technology; were some of the main problems at that time. Understanding the deteriorating condition of the agriculture sector, the Indian Government launched the Green Revolution through which the use of High Yielding Variety (HYV) seeds was adopted in the country. Along with this, took place the up-gradation in irrigation facilities as well as the use of more effective fertilizers. All this together led to the mass production of high-quality crops in India. To find an optimum solution for these issues, in the year 1965 under the guidance of M.S. Swaminathan, the Indian government launched the Green Revolution that lasted from 1967- 1978. 

Credits – BW Businessworld

Also known as the Father of the Green Revolution in India, M.S. Swaminathan is an Indian geneticist and administrator.

Features of Green Revolution 

Given below are the features of the Green Revolution: 

  • The most effective feature of all was the introduction of HYV seeds in Indian agriculture. The seeds proved out to be highly effective in the regions with fluent irrigation facilities, thus, the first stage was focused on Punjab and Tamil Nadu. 
  • In the second stage of the scheme, other states were included too and seeds for various crops other than wheat were used.
  • This Revolution initiated the use of an inland irrigation system as the country cannot depend only on monsoon for their water needs.
  • The plan majorly focused on the production of food grains like wheat, rice, etc and commercial crops like jute, cotton, oilseeds etc. were prohibited from the plan.
  • It promoted the use of fertilizers and manures whereas limiting the use of pesticides and weedicides in order to avoid any sort of crop damage
  • The use of technologically advanced machinery like tractors, drills, harvesters, etc was implemented

Do you know? Another Important Revolution in India is the Golden Revolution which is referred to as a period of agricultural development in India which integrally focused on the development of horticulture and honey production. 

Impact of Green Revolution in India

Understand the aftermath of the Green Revolution in India and how it impacted and benefitted millions of people in the country through the following points: 

  • Enhancing the Agricultural Production: There was a great boom in the production of grains especially wheat as it increased from 11 million tonnes in 1960 to 55 million tonnes in 1990.
  • Increase in per Acre Yield: The major impact of this Revolution can be seen whilst measuring the per acre production of crops that recorded a jaw-dropping spike of 850 kg/hectare to 2281 kg/hectare.
  • Independency in Terms of Import: With the hike in production, adequate stocks were assembled for emergencies. This led to exemption of import and India began exporting.
  •  Employment: As the scheme involved transportation, irrigation, food processing, marketing and various other opportunities; Green Revolution helped people combat unemployment.
  • Relief to the Farmers: The miserable conditions of farmers due to depletion of the agricultural sector was no longer the same. Farmers not only experienced a hike in their income but also started earning luxuries. 
Credits – Mahyco Grow

What are the Drawbacks of Green Revolution?

 Even after being recognized as one of the most significant developments in the agricultural sector across the globe, Green Revolution too had some drawbacks. Mentioned below are the drawbacks of this Revolution in India.

  • The major imbalance was seen amongst the food grains. Auto greens like wheat, rice, bajra, jowar and maize would be a part of the plan but it mainly empowered wheat.
  • HYV seeds for crops like pulses, oilseeds, cereals, etc are not developed yet or they are not highly efficient. 
  • Regional disparities begin to ignite with the widespread Green Revolution. As it only benefited areas like Punjab, Haryana, Western UP,  Tamil Nadu; the entire Eastern region- West Bengal, Orissa, Assam, etc are completely untouched. 
  • This revolution also has a severe impact on the soil as repetitive production of the same crop on the same soil results in soil depletion.

“The green revolution has an entirely different meaning to most people in the affluent nations of the privileged world than to those in the developing nations of the forgotten world.”
– Norman Borlaug

Advantages and Disadvantages

The following are the major advantages and disadvantages of the green revolution in India.

Advantages Disadvantages
It also helps us with predictable yields. Decreased the quality of the soil.
Reduced production costs and resulted in cheaper food prices. Had a few side effects on health.
The agricultural industry was able to produce much larger quantities of food. The use of chemical fertilizers, synthetic herbicides increased environmental and soil pollution.
An increase in productivity made it possible to feed the increasing population. This excessive use also led to erosion of soil.

Green Revolution Around the World

Having begun in Mexico, the green revolution was established and had an impact in various countries. Let’s check out the many places the revolution took place and what were the effects.


Mexico has been called the birthplace of the green revolution and was led by the Mexican government in 1943, under the Presidential order and finance of the Mexican President Manuel Ávila Camacho. The green revolution helped Mexico solve its problem of lack of food self-sufficiency by making an effort to transform agricultural productivity, particularly with irrigated rather than dry-land cultivation in its northwest. 


The excessive population growth in China meant that increasing food production like rice was a top priority for the Chinese government. Prominent in the development of productive hybrid rice was Yuan Longping, who has been dubbed “the father of hybrid rice researched on hybridized wild strains of rice with existing strains. The Chinese government’s policies gave cultivators technical assistance, access to affordable HYVs, fertilizers, and pesticides, and developed infrastructure. Green Revolution with high yields had given China the amount of food security the country required. 


Despite successfully presenting the green revolution in Africa, many factors made the establishment of the revolution unsuccessful as compared to other nations. The country had high corruption rates, insecurity, lack of infrastructure, and a general lack of will on the part of the government. Apart from these factors, environmental factors, such as the availability of water for irrigation, the high diversity in slope and soil types in one given area also added to the failure of the green revolution in Africa.

Green Revolution UPSC Questions and Answers

Father of Green Revolution in India: MS Swaminathan

Credits: WildFilms India


What is known as Green Revolution?

Green revolution refers to the great increase in production of food grains (especially wheat and rice) that resulted in large part from the introduction into developing countries of new, high-yielding varieties, beginning in the mid-20th century.

Who started the green revolution in India?

Green Revolution in India was founded by M S Swaminathan.

What are the positive effects of the Green Revolution?

Reduction in the amount of greenhouse gas emissions and predictable yields. It also enhanced agricultural production and was a relief for the farmers.

Which country started Green Revolution?

Mexico was the first country that started Green Revolution.

Why did Green Revolution start?

The need for introducing this Revolution in India arose due to a shortage of food grains due to the legacy of the colonial regime.

After understanding the significance of the Green Revolution, it is clear that Science and Technology have the potential to save the world from any sort of crisis. What are your thoughts on this? Let us know in the comment section below. If you want to make a career in STEM fields or research then reach out to Leverage Edu experts who will help you select the most suitable pathway of achieving your goal!

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