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Mains Answer Writing


Q1) The Green Revolution, with its focus on land productivity, created a crisis for water productivity, leading to the situation of water stress in farming. In this perspective, suggest measures to make agriculture sustainable and future-ready.

(150 Words/10 Marks)


While land productivity tells us about crop produced from unit area of agricultural land, water productivity is a measure of water use efficiency in agriculture.


As per several experts, green revolution has contributed to the situation of water stress in farming in the following ways:

1. Green revolution treated water as surplus unlimited resource, as it focused on increasing production and land productivity.

2. Subsidized electricality and free water for irrigation resulted in poor water use efficiency.

E.g., Indian farmers use 2-4 times more water than their Chinese counter part for production of same crop.

3. Water-intensive crops:

a) Promoted though price support; expansion in areas beyond their suitable agroclimatic zones. Today, drought-affected, rain deficit areas like Vidarbha and Rajasthan are cultivating sugarcane.

b) Exports of water extensive crop (“water export”) has led to water crisis in states like Punjab through depletion of ground water.


As per the World resource Institute, 54% of the country is estimated to face high to extremely-high water stress. The situation of water-stress in farming has the following implications:

1. Income loss for farmers; As per VoxDev, farmers whose wells dried up earned 25% lower than those with access to irrigation.

2. Climate Vulnerability: Unirrigated lands are 60% more vulnerable to climate change according to Economic Survey.

3. Productivity loss: Amount of produce is directly proportional to the water availability in traditional agriculture.

4. GDP loss: According to NITI Aayog, 6% of India’s GDP would be lost by 2050 due to water crisis.

5. Agricultural water-stress can manifest into agricultural pauperism. Implications include dearth of food (availability), malnourishment (utilization), agri-inflation (access), harming all the four pillars of food security.

6. Spill-over effects: Water stress (and resulting food crisis) can result in increasing social divisions and regression on development indicators like Maternal Mortality, Infant Mortality etc.


To make agriculture sustainable and future-ready, it is important to shift from land productivity to water productivity through following measures:

1. Reduced water wastage: Checks on wasteful tendencies.

E.g., rationalizing electricity subsidies to farmers, micro-irrigation, auto-cutoff sensors etc.

2. Regulating water usage through sectoral planning; a Central Groundwater Authority as recommended by Parliamentary Standing Committee, can widen the availability of water.

3. Geographic division of policies to support cropping practices as per agro-climatic zones.

E.g., locally suited crops like millets.

4. Use of traditional methods for water conservation on farm (E.g., johad) alongside modern methods like fog catchers, grey water reuse, etc.

5. ICT can optimize water use.

E.g., through precision agriculture, greenhouses, etc.


Enhancing the water productivity through a paradigm shift towards “more crop per drop” agriculture is critical for food security as well as for meeting the SDGs

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