Fighting COVID with lessons from Green Revolution – UPSC GS2

The Situation of India during the 1960s:
  • India faced a severe food shortage after facing two consecutive years of drought.
  • India was forced to accept US aid. India at that time neither supported USSR nor the USA.
  • Though it was the worst situation, the response of Indian leadership was exemplary.
  • Prime Ministers Lal Bahadur Shastri, Indira Gandhi and others brought the scientific and bureaucratic communities to debates. Especially to bring a quantum leap in food production.
  • The debate turned into action very soon. Within a few years, India achieved Food security.
  • No one imagined that India from such a dreadful situation will achieve food security this fast.
  • The Green Revolution stands out in Indian history even today.
  • It is the display of extraordinary accountability of political leadership, combined ability to resolve an issue from bureaucrat and Scientific community.
Advantages for present India vis-à-vis 1960s:
  • In March 2020, India faced a similar problem on health infrastructure.
  • To improve the medical capability and delay the Covid-19 spread India imposed lockdown at very short notice.
  • But India has certain advantages at present when compared to the situation in 1960. Such as:
    • At present, India has a better industrial base, compared to the 1960s.
    • Certain parts of India actually have a surplus of oxygen. They can help to fulfil urgent demands.
    • India has an enormous foreign exchange reserve at present. This was not the case in the 1960s.
    • So, India is in a better position to import some crucial medical inputs such as vaccines.