Answer Writing Practice for UPSC IAS Mains Exam: Paper - II (General Studies – I) - 27 December 2018


Answer Writing Practice for UPSC IAS Mains Exam


UPSC Syllabus:

  • Paper-II: General Studies - I (Indian Heritage and Culture, History and Geography of the World and Society)

Q. “The Green Revolution has increased the food grains production in India but has created several environmental problems". Elucidate with examples. (250 words)

Model Answer:

Approach:

  • Introduction
  • Increased food grains production
  • Environmental Problems
  • Conclusion

Introduction

  • Green revolution (GR) refers to the spectacular increase in food grains production in India. It started during the 1966-67 period after being successful in Mexico.
  • Norman Borlaug invented High Yielding Variety (HYV) seeds which became the basis of green revolution.
  • S Swaminathan led this revolution in India and is regarded as the father of green revolution in India.

Increased food grains production

Green revolution increased the food grains production and India which was notorious for being a begging-bowl (food deficient) soon became food surplus. There was about 30% increase in the production of food grains by 1977 from 1947. India, very soon, stopped purchasing wheat from US under the PL480 Programme.

Environmental Problems

But Green Revolution gave rise to many environment related issues owing to the requirement of heavy usage of fertilizers, insecticides, pesticides, water for irrigation, machines, equipments, etc. Some of the environmental problems so caused are—

  • Higher yields lead to the deforestation for the purpose of expansion of agriculture. Deforestation so happen also adversely impacted biodiversity which later motivated the government to enact the environment protection act, 1986.
  • HYVs required excessive usage of chemical fertilizers. Most commonly used Urea contained higher ratio of Nitrogen than government recommended ratio of N: P equaling 4:1. So soil toxicity and acidicity increased. This also caused Eutrophication   in nearby water bodies.
  • HYVs required increased irrigation of which ground-water based tube well is the major source because monsoon is seasonal and irregular. This has caused severe shortage and depletion of ground water according to Central Ground Water Authority (CGWA). Atal Bhujal yojana has recently been launched by government in collaboration with World Bank with an outlay of Rs 6000 cores to deal with this issue.
  • HYVs call for heavy usage of pesticides also. Such toxics enter water bodies and food chain causing severe harm to environment, livestock and
  • Increased mechanization requires power as well as fossil fuels. This causes construction of more dams for hydropower generation causing harm to surrounding environment and ecology besides raising risk of natural disasters like foods. Alternatively, relying on Thermal power causes air pollution and increase global warming. This goes against the commitments made under COP21 Paris agreement of UNFCCC.
  • Increased production increases transportation requirement to food processing, agro-based industries and markets. Road transportation increases emissions to intensify global warming.
  • HYVs have increased more cropping per season thus intensifying the environmental hazards.
  • HYVs are more wheat, maize and rice based thus cropping pattern has been changing in areas of Green Revolution. This is degrading the fertility of soils.
  • The crop residues are ever-increasing which the farmers end up burning causing severe pollution problem in Delhi-NCR region. WHO has included 14 Indian cities among 15 as the most polluted ones. Artificial rain triggered recently to control Delhi’s pollution gives rise to other environmental problems because silver iodide used during cloud seeding is a harmful chemical.

Conclusion

Green Revolution is no doubt a paradigm shift in India’s food security however the environmental issues that it causes have to addressed and minimized. Organic farming, Solar power, water harvesting, drip and sprinkler  irrigation methods, stopping stable burring through better form of equipment and management, educating farmers,  etc. are some of ways to tackle these issues. National Solar Mission, renewable energy target of 175 GW by 2022, Intended Nationally determined contribution (INDCs) committed under Paris agreement, Atal Bhuja Yojana etc. are commendable government initiatives in the right direction.

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