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India is a diverse country in terms of agriculture as well as culture, language, religion, and geography. India grows a wide range of crops, including fruits, vegetables, spices, and cattle products. The Yellow Revolution, also known as the Oilseeds Production Thrust, was one of the most amazing triumphs of Indian agriculture, transforming India from a net importer of edible oil to a self-sufficient nation.

What exactly is the Yellow Revolution?


The Yellow Revolution was a huge edible oil development programme launched by the Government of India in 1986-87, led by Sam Pitroda, popularly recognised as the Yellow Revolution's father. The program's primary goals were as follows:


  • - To boost edible oil production and consumption in the country by increasing the area and productivity of oilseed crops, particularly mustard and sesame seeds.
  • - To empower rural oilseed producers, particularly small and marginal farmers, by forming village-level cooperatives to procure, process, and market oil and oil cakes.
  • - Improving the quality and productivity of oilseed crops by improved seeds, fertilisers, insecticides, irrigation, and mechanisation.
  • - Raise rural poor income and living standards by creating employment and income opportunities in the oilseed sector.


What made the Yellow Revolution a success?


The Yellow Revolution was carried out in three stages, from 1986-1987 to 1998-1999, with the help of several national and international organisations. The following were the program's main features:


  • - The adoption of the Anand cooperative dairying model, which was first introduced by Dr. Verghese Kurien and his team at the Gujarat Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation (GCMMF), which owns the well-known Amul brand. The Anand model is founded on the democratic and professional management idea, in which farmers own and control the full oil supply chain, from production to sale, and share profits among themselves.
  • - The creation of an oilseed cooperative network at the village, district, and state levels that will cover over 1.3 lakh villages and 15 million oilseed growers across the country. These cooperatives gather, process, and distribute oil and oil cakes to consumers under a single brand name, such as Dhara, Sweekar, Ruchi, and so on.
  • - The development of a national oil grid that connects surplus oil-producing regions like Gujarat, Punjab, and Haryana with deficit regions like Bihar, West Bengal, and Tamil Nadu via a network of oil extraction plants, solvent extraction plants, refineries, and transportation facilities. This ensures a consistent and homogeneous supply of oil throughout the year, reducing reliance on imports.
  • - The use of high-yielding cultivars, hybrid seeds, bio-fertilizers, integrated pest management, and crop rotation to boost the genetic potential and health of oilseed crops. This leads to improved oil yield and quality, as well as decreased production costs.
  • - Promoting a diverse oil portfolio that includes not just liquid oil but also numerous value-added products such as vanaspati, margarine, mayonnaise, salad dressing, and so on. This increases demand for and consumption of oil and oil products while also improving the profitability and competitiveness of the oilseed sector.


What were the impacts of the Yellow Revolution?


The Yellow Revolution had a significant impact on India's socio economic development, particularly in rural areas. Among the most significant consequences are:


  • - India's oilseed production has climbed from 9.3 million tonnes in 1986-87 to 32.8 million tonnes in 2018-19, making it the world's fourth largest producer, accounting for 8% of global oilseed production.
  • - India's edible oil output has climbed from 3.2 million tonnes in 1986-87 to 10.6 million tonnes in 2018-19, making it the world's third largest edible oil producer, accounting for 9% of worldwide edible oil output.
  • - Per capita oil availability in India has increased from 3.8 kg per year in 1986-87 to 15.3 kg per year in 2018-19, exceeding the global average of 13.4 kg per year.
  • - India's oilseed sector contributes around 3% of GDP and 13% of agricultural GDP, and employs over 70 million rural households.
  • - India's oilseed sector has empowered women, who account for around 70% of all producers, by providing them with a consistent source of income, decision-making power, and social recognition.
  • - India's oilseed sector has benefited people's nutrition and health, particularly children's, by providing a rich source of important fatty acids, vitamins, and antioxidants.


What are the future's difficulties and opportunities?


The Yellow Revolution was a wonderful success story, but it also faced some future problems and opportunities. Some of the most important issues are:


  • - Rising demand for oil and oil products as a result of rising population, urbanization, income, and awareness, necessitating additional expansion and modernization of the oilseed sector.
  • - Shifting consumer preferences and expectations, which call for greater variety, quality, safety, and convenience in oil and oil products, necessitating further innovation and diversification of the oil portfolio.
  • - Rising internal and international rivalry, necessitating increased efficiency, productivity, and competitiveness in the oilseed sector.
  • - Environmental and ethical challenges, such as water scarcity, soil degradation, biodiversity loss, and climate change, necessitate greater sustainability and accountability from the oilseed sector.


The Yellow Revolution has changed the game for India, and the country now has the potential to become a worldwide leader in the oilseed industry. The Yellow Revolution is about more than just oil; it is about transforming the rural economy, society, and culture. The Yellow Revolution is both a historical success and a vision for the future. The Yellow Revolution is both a revolution and an evolutionary process.

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