ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Water and Agricultural Transformation in India

A Symbiotic Relationship—I

Water and Agricultural Transformation in India

An argument for twin propositions is presented in this two-part paper: (i) that solving India’s water problem requires a paradigm shift in agriculture (Part I), and (ii) that the crisis in Indian agriculture cannot be resolved without a paradigm shift in water management and governance (Part II). If farming takes up 90% of India’s water and just three water-intensive crops continue to use 80% of agricultural water, the basic water needs of millions of people, for drinking water or protective irrigation, cannot be met. This first part argues that the paradigm shift in agriculture requires a shift in cropping patterns suited to each agroecological region, a movement from monoculture to polycultural crop biodiversity, a decisive move towards agroecological farming, and greater emphasis on soil rejuvenation.

This paper traces the roots of India’s water and farm crises to the onset of the green revolution in agriculture, which has now been ongoing for the past 50 years and could be said to have entered its terminal phase at the turn of the century. We suggest that if the right lessons are drawn from the experience of the green revolution, then it is, indeed, possible to address the crisis facing India’s farmers, while also solving India’s water problem. Not doing so would, on the other hand, leave both crises unresolved, even aggravated.

The Green Revolution Paradigm

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Updated On : 19th Jul, 2021

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