Green Revolution, led to a great increase in production of food grains (especially wheat and rice) that resulted in large part from the introduction of new, high-yielding varieties, beginning in the mid-20th century. It is known to have reduced the dependence of India on foreign aid for the supply of good grains during the agricultural crisis caused by droughts, floods etc. It envisaged to make India self-dependent and a self-sustained nation in terms of food grains availability. To ensure food security was its aim.
Green Revolution took place in three different phases in various regions of the country at different points in time.
The first phase of Green Revolution: This happened from 1962–65 to 1970-73 with sharp increase in yield of wheat in the north-western region of Punjab, Haryana and Western Uttar Pradesh.
The second phase of Green Revolution: This happened from 1970-73 to 1980-83 with the extension of HYV [High Yielding Variety] seed technology from wheat to rice. This time the technology spread was in the regions of Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh particularly the coastal areas, parts of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu and soon regions like Maharashtra, Gujarat, improved their production too.
Third Phase: The third phase from 1980-83 to 1992-95 showed very significant and encouraging results. This time the Revolution spread to low growth areas like Orissa, West Bengal, Madhya Pradesh, and Rajasthan. During the last phase, the Southern region registered a higher rate of growth than the Northern region
By the end of this phase, the ‘coefficient of variation’ of the output growth levels and yield [per hectare] level between the various states dropped down substantially compared to earlier decades. By the end of the last phase, there was a considerable reduction in regional inequality by an increase in the prosperity in rural India.
Peasants of Kaira [Kheda] district, Gujarat which supplied milk to Bombay felt cheated by the milk traders and then they met Sardar Patel who was from the same region to redress their grievances. At the initiative of Patel &
Morarji Desai, the farmers organized themselves into a Cooperative Union. They pressurized the Bombay government threatening of a “Milk Strike” to buy milk directly from their Union. These farmers registered themselves in Anand, Gujarat. In Dec 1946. Gandhian freedom fighter Tribhuvandas K.Patel, convinced the farmers to form milk cooperatives nnd later became its Chairman remaining so for 25 years. Dr Verghese Kurien was CEO of this Union from 1950 to 1973.
Meanwhile, in 1955, the Union chose “Amul” as its name for its range of products, which competed with MNC companies of dairy products like Glaxo and Nestle. The “Anand Pattern” of Kaira cooperative union gradually spread to other districts in Gujarat in 1974. The Gujarat Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation Ltd. Anand was formed as an apex organisation of the unions in the district to look after marketing, According to one estimate, due to the activities of cooperative, 48% of the income of rural households came from dairying.
The Kaira cooperative success made the movements spread to the rest of the country inevitable. In 1964, the then PM Shastriji wrote to the all (CM’s of the country to set up cooperative dairies on the “Anand Pattern”. To perform this task, NDDB (National Dairy Development Board) was created in 1965 with Mr. Verghese Kurien at its helm as its honorary Chairman.
Drawing heavily from the Kaira Union for personnel, expertise and much more, the NDDB launched “Operation Flood”, a programme to replicate the “Anand Pattern” in other milksheds of the Country.
Operation Flood had organised cooperatives of milk producers into a nation-wide milk grid with the purpose of increasing milk production, bringing the producers and consumers closer by eliminating middlemen and assuring the producers a regular income throughout the year. It was not just a dairy programme, but a path to development, generating employment & income of rural households and alleviating poverty. By 1995 there were 69,875 village dairy cooperatives spread over 170 milk shed all over the country with a total membership of 8.9 million farmers.
The obvious impact of operation Flood was the considerable increase in milk supply and consequent increase in income of the milk producers, particularly the poor. It was estimated that 60% of the beneficiaries were marginal or small farmers and landless labourers. Milk Cooperatives proved to be a significant anti-poverty measure and a grand success to emulate.
All the leaders of Indian freedom struggle, from Mahatama Gandhi to Nehru, the Socialists, Communists, post independence agreed that co-operativization would lead to a major improvement in Indian agriculture and benefit the poor. The congress Agrarian Reforms Committee also known as Kumarappa Committee made the recommendation for compulsorily promoting Cooperatives. The Congress party in their 1959’s Nagpur Session passed Nagpur Resolution which visualized an agrarian pattern based on Joint cooperative farming. However, there were some leaders like C. Rajagopalachari, N.G. Ranga and Charan Singh who opposed such move.
Danial Thorner, the noted economist during his observation of Cooperatives between Dec 1958 to May 1959 found many weaknesses on the cooperative movements. He observed two types of cooperatives movements. One was of rich and landowning farmers. They formed such cooperatives to evade land reforms and access incentives offered by the state. These were bogus kind of cooperatives where big farmers enrolled their labourers and ex-tenants as members.
The other, second type of cooperatives were state-sponsored cooperatives where uncultivated lands of the government was made available to the landless labourers and underprivileged groups.
These cooperatives didn’t live up to their expectations in terms of benefits of scale. The service cooperatives fared better than the farming cooperatives. There were many shortcomings too in service cooperatives. Service cooperatives reinforced the casted based hierarchical structure. Leaders of such cooperatives mostly drawn from traders and money lending communities. Hence no benefits to the poor. In 1971, the National Commission on Agriculture confirmed the virtual exclusion of the landless from securing credits from credit cooperatives.
Instead of promoting people’s participation in the cooperative movement, very soon it became overstaffed with government officials and became inefficient. Credit cooperatives suffered from the major drawback of failure of repayment of loans, which led to a large percentage of over-dues. Contrary to common perception, rich and the landowning community were the largest defaulters than the poor and small farmers.