M.S SWAMINATHAN (Syllabus: GS Paper 3 – Agriculture)

News-CRUX-10     10th February 2024        
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Context: Eminent agronomist and agricultural scientist Mankombu Sambasivan Swaminathan will be conferred the prestigious Bharat Ratna award for his unparalleled contributions to Indian agriculture and farmers' welfare, Prime Minister of India announced.


M.S. Swaminathan

  • Early Life: Born in Kumbakonam, Madras Presidency, on August 7, 1925, Swaminathan was the second son of general surgeon MK Sambasivan and Parvati Thangammal Sambasivan.
  • Professional life: After doing his post-doctoral research associateship at the University of Wisconsin's Laboratory of Genetics in the US, Swaminathan returned to India in 1954.
    Advocating Self-Reliance in Agriculture: Criticizing India's food grain imports despite a 70% dependence on agriculture, Swaminathan and Nobel laureate American agronomist toured India, developing new crop varieties.
  • Achieving Self-Sufficiency: Their efforts led to the government declaring India self-sufficient in food production in 1971.
  • Leadership in Agricultural Research: Swaminathan was appointed Director-General of the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) and a secretary to the Government of India.
  • International Contributions: IRRI: Becoming the first Asian director-general of the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) in the Philippines in 1982, Swaminathan served in this role until 1988.
  • Global Environmental Stewardship: In 1984, he assumed the roles of president and vice-president of the International Union for Conservation of Nature and World Wildlife Fund.
  • Awards: He was awarded the first World Food Prize in 1987 and the prize money was used to set up the MS Swaminathan Research Foundation.
  • Recognitions

o1961: Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Award

o1965: Mendel Memorial Medal from the Czechoslovak Academy of Sciences

o1971: Ramon Magsaysay Award

o1986: Albert Einstein World Science Award

o1987: The first World Food Prize

o1991: Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement

o2000: Four Freedoms Award

o2000: Planet and Humanity Medal of the International Geographical Union

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