ri lt re and ood ana ement 8.5
The idea of the Green Revolution at the end increase in the purchasing capacity of the masses
of this phase at least gave India the confidence of to make food affordable for them. India badly
realising the objective. At the end of the 1980s, failed in it. The crisis was managed by throwing
India was a self-sufficient country with regard to higher and higher subsidies ultimately affecting
food. government expenditure on the infrastructural
shortcomings in the agriculture sector. Even after
the seconD PhAse providing higher food subsidies, some people
failed to purchase food and they were left with no
Meanwhile India was celebrating its success of
option but to die of hunger.
the first phase, a new challenge confronted the
India is still in this phase and trying to solve the
country—achieving economic access to food.
crisis through twin approach, firstly, by creating
The situation went on worsening and by early
maximum number of gainful employment, and
2000 there was a paradoxical situation in the
secondly, by cutting cost of foodgrains (via the
country when it was having more than three second green revolution based on biotechnology).
times buffer stocks of foodgrains in the central
It must be kept in mind that the food self-
pool, but in several states people were dying
sufficiency happiness was a temporary thing for
due to lack of food—a complete mockery of the India. By the mid 1990s, India realised that its
logic behind maintaining buffer stock, success of foodgrain production was lagging behind its
green revolution and the concept of India being population increase. It means India is still fighting to
a welfare state.12 The Supreme Court intervened achieve physical reach to the required level of food.
after a PIL was filed by the People’s Union for
Civil Liberties (PUCL) and a national level Food the thirD PhAse
for Work Programme came up (to be merged By the end of the 1980s, world experts started
with the National Rural Employment Guarantee questioning the very way world was carrying on
Scheme). The courts took the governments on task with different modes of production. Agricultural
if foodgrains rot either in godowns or destroyed in activity was one among them which had become
oceans to manage market price for the foodgrains, hugely based on industries (chemical fertilizers,
or if the Centre had to go for exporting wheat pesticides, tractors, etc.). All developed economies
at very low price. In this process India emerged had declared their agriculture to be an industry.13
as the seventh largest exporter of wheat (2002). It was time to look back and introspect. By
Basically, we were exporting the share of wheat the early 1990s, several countries started going
which was not consumed by many Indians due to for ecologically friendly methods and techniques
lack of economic reach to food. of industrial, agricultural and services sectors
As the inputs of the Green Revolution were development. The much-hyped Green Revolution
was declared ecologically untenable and the world
costlier, its output naturally were to be costlier.
To fight the situation there should have been a headed for organic farming, green farming, etc.
time-bound and target-oriented macro-economic It meant that achieving physical and economic
policy support, which could deliver comparative reach to food was not the only challenge India was
facing, but such aims should not be realised at the
12. Publication Division, India 2000 (New DelhI:
Government of India, 2001); Ministry of Finance, 13. Brundtland Report on Sustainable Development after
Economic Survey 2000–01, (New DelhI: Government the deliberations at the summit “Our Common future”,
of India, 2001). 1987.