From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : Not much
Mains level : Paper 3- Contrast between white and green revolution
November 26, 2021 was celebrated in Anand, Gujarat as the 100th birth anniversary of Verghese Kurien, the leader of India’s ‘white revolution’.
Analysing the Green revolution
- Purpose of green revolution: The purpose of the green revolution was to increase the output of agriculture to prevent shortages of food.
- Technocratic enterprise: The green revolution was largely a technocratic enterprise driven by science and the principles of efficiency.
- It required inputs, like chemical fertilizers, to be produced on scale and at low cost.
- Therefore, large fertilizer factories were set up for the green revolution. And large dams and irrigation systems were also required to feed water on a large scale.
- Monocropping on fields was necessary to apply all appropriate inputs — seeds, fertilizer, water, etc., on scale.
- Monocropping increased the efficiency in application of inputs.
- Thus, farms became like large, dedicated engineering factories designed to produce large volumes efficiently.
- Diversity in the products and processes of large factories creates complexity.
- Therefore, diversity is weeded out to keep the factories well-focused on the outputs they are designed for.
The contrast between White and Green revolution
- The contrast between the two revolutions provides valuable insights. Their purposes were different.
- Purpose of white revolution: The purpose of the white revolution was to increase the incomes of small farmers in Gujarat, not the output of milk.
- The white revolution was a socio-economic enterprise driven by political leaders and principles of equity.
Understanding the success of Amul
- Amul has become one of India’s most loved brands, and is respected internationally too for the quality of its products and the efficiency of its management.
- The fledgling, farmer-owned, Indian enterprise had many technological problems to solve.
- That is why they enrolled Kurien, who had studied engineering in the United States.
- Indigenous solutions: Kurien and his engineering compatriots in the organisation were compelled to develop solutions indigenously when Indian policy makers, influenced by foreign experts, said Indians could not make it.
- The enterprise achieved its outcome of empowering farmers because the governance of the enterprise to achieve equity was always kept in the foreground, with the efficiency of its production processes in the background as a means to the outcome.
Increasing productivity and issues with it
- ‘Productivity’, when defined as output per worker, can be increased by eliminating workers.
- This may be an acceptable way to measure and increase productivity when the purpose of the enterprise is to increase profits of investors in the enterprise.
- It is a wrong approach to productivity when the purpose of the enterprise is to enable more workers to increase their incomes, which must be the aim of any policy to increase small farmers’ incomes.
- The need for new solutions to increase farmers’ incomes has become imperative.
- Moreover, fundamental changes in economics and management sciences are necessary to reverse the degradation of the planet’s natural environment that has taken place with the application of modern technological solutions and management methods for the pursuit of economic growth.
Suggestions to increase inclusion and improve environmental sustainability
- Ensure inclusion and equity: Increase in the incomes and wealth of the workers and small asset owners in the enterprise must be the purpose of the enterprise, rather than production of better returns for investors.
- Social side: The ‘social’ side of the enterprise is as important as its ‘business’ side.
- Therefore, new metrics of performance must be used, and many ‘non-corporate’ methods of management learned and applied to strengthen its social fabric.
- Local solution: Solutions must be ‘local systems’ solutions, rather than ‘global (or national) scale’ solutions.
- The resources in the local environment (including local workers) must be the principal resources of the enterprise.
- Practical use of science: Science must be practical and useable by the people on the ground rather than a science developed by experts to convince other experts.
- Moreover, people on the ground are often better scientists from whom scientists in universities can learn useful science.
- Sustainable solution through evolution: Sustainable transformations are brought about by a steady process of evolution, not by drastic revolution.
- Large-scale transformations imposed from the top can have strong side-effects.
Consider the question “Contrast the differences between the White Revolution and Green Revolution in India. What lessons can be applied to Indian agriculture from the success of the White Revolution in India?”
The essence of democratic economic governance is that an enterprise must be of the people, for the people, and governed by the people too.