First World Food Prize Laureate Dr M S Swaminathan passes away

India’s highest form of awards like the Padma Shri, the Padma Bhushan, and the Padma Vibhushan have all been awarded to Swaminathan

M S Swaminathan, a prominent Indian scientist also known as Father of Green Revolution, recently passed away at the age of 98. According to medical reports, Swaminathan was residing in his Chennai house and passed away due to old age ailments.

Green revolution is one of the most successful achievements in India’s history right after independence in 1947 mastered by MS Swaminathan. He obtained PhD in Genetics from Cambridge University in 1952. Soon after 2 years Swaminathan returns to India and continued his research in Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI) where he persuaded his post-graduation degree in plant breeding and genetics.

M.S. Swaminathan was named the first World Food Prize Laureate in 1987 for developing and spearheading the introduction of high-yielding wheat and rice varieties into India during the 1960s when that country faced the prospect of widespread famine. Wheat production doubled in just a few years, making the country self-sufficient and saving millions from extreme food deprivation. He was the driving force behind the creation of the “evergreen revolution” with the MS Swaminathan Research Foundation.

During his tenure in office, Swaminathan served in various capacities across departments. He was appointed Director of the Indian Agricultural Research Institute (1961-72), Director General of ICAR and Secretary to the Government of India, Department of Agricultural Research and Education (1972-79), Principal Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture (1979-80), Acting Deputy Chairman and later Member (Science and Agriculture), Planning Commission (1980-82) and Director General, International Rice Research Institute, the Philippines (1982-88).

In 2004, Swaminathan was appointed as chair of the National Commission on Farmers, a commission setup to look into farmer distress amid alarming suicide cases. The commission submitted its report in 2006 and suggested, among its recommendations, that the Minimum Selling Price (MSP) should be at least 50 percent more than the weighted average cost of production.

India’s highest form of awards like the Padma Shri, the Padma Bhushan, and the Padma Vibhushan have all been awarded to Swaminathan. Along with various international honors including the Ramon Magsaysay Award (1971) and the Albert Einstein World Science Award (1986), he is also the recipient of the H K Firodia Award, the Lal Bahadur Shastri National Award, and the Indira Gandhi Prize. 

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