Eminent agronomist Mankombu Sambasivan Swaminathan has been announced as a posthumous recipient of the prestigious Bharat Ratna award. The Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi, made the declaration, recognizing Swaminathan’s significant contributions to Indian agriculture and farmers’ welfare.
Swaminathan, a pivotal figure in the Green Revolution, played a crucial role in leading India towards self-sufficiency in food production. Born in Kumbakonam, he was deeply impacted by the Bengal famine of 1943, which ignited his passion for ensuring adequate food supply in India.
After acquiring his Bachelor of Science degree in Agricultural Science from the University of Madras, Swaminathan pursued further education at the Indian Agricultural Research Institute and the University of Cambridge School of Agriculture. He conducted post-doctoral research in the US and returned to India in 1954.
Partnering with a Nobel Prize-winning American agronomist, Swaminathan spearheaded the development of new crop varieties in India. This collaborative effort resulted in India achieving self-sufficiency in food production by 1971, a milestone moment for the nation.
Swaminathan’s leadership extended to roles such as the director-general of the Indian Council of Agricultural Research and as the first Asian director general of the International Rice Research Institute. He received numerous accolades including the Ramon Magsaysay Award and became the first recipient of the World Food Prize in 1987.
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