Mr Modi’s miracle – Gujarat’s silent Green Revolution

published on April 23, 2011

Even as the Planning Commission says that India’s desire to hit double-digit economic growth is being constrained, among other things, by the inability of the farm sector to grow at an annual average rate of 4 per cent a year, largely semi-arid Gujarat, with poor agro-ecological endowments, has reported an average growth rate of close to 9 per cent per annum over the past decade. Gujarat’s agricultural performance this past decade has turned out to be as impressive as its performance on the industrial front. What are the secrets of Chief Minister Narendra Modi’s “Gujarat model of farm development”? The twin mantras that seem to have spurred agricultural growth in this drought-prone state are improved diffusion of technology and better utilisation of water, both achieved through extensive and concerted extension services and the pooling of individual, community and official initiatives. These seem to have been followed by essential support services that provide inputs, credit, power and marketing facilities.

Other states, like Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Bihar and Assam, have also performed fairly well on the farm front, but they have a long way to go before they can match Gujarat. The original Green Revolution states in the north-west, on the other hand, have begun to lag behind on agricultural growth owing to laxity in developmental efforts and inadequate attention being paid to the over-exploitation of natural resources, including groundwater. West Bengal, which had a record of good performance in agricultural development, has slipped and is among the poorly performing states, with agricultural growth going down from over 5 per cent in the early 1990s to under 2 per cent in recent years

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