Chennai: M S Swaminathan, known as the father of India's Green Revolution, died in Chennai on Thursday. He was 98.
An agronomist, agricultural scientist and plant geneticist, Swaminathan brought a social revolution through his policies to rescue India from famine-like circumstances in the 1960s.
To address the severe food shortages, Swaminathan developed high-yielding seeds suited to Indian environmental conditions and propagated them among farmers.
Born in 1952, Mankombu Sambasivan Swaminathan was the second son of M K Sambasivan and Parvati Thangammal Sambasivan who belonged to Alappuzha in Kerala.
Swaminathan was the director general of the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) between 1972 and 1980 and the director general of the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) between 1982 and 1988.
Swaminathan has received numerous national and international awards and honours, including the Ramon Magsaysay Award (1971), the Albert Einstein World Science Award (1986), the first World Food Prize (1987), the Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement (1991), the Planet and Humanity Medal of the International Geographical Union (2000).
He was conferred with the Padma Shri, Padma Bhushan, Padma Vibhushan, as well as the H K Firodia Award, the Lal Bahadur Shastri National Award and the Indira Gandhi Prize.
Kerala conferred the 'Kerala Shastra Puraskaram, instituted jointly by the Kerala State Council for Science, Technology and Environment and the Department of Science and Technology, on him in 2021.
The Green Revolution was a programme that paved the way for huge growth in the production of rice and wheat through the adoption of chemical–biological technology.
Dr Swaminathan was a nominated member of the Rajya Sabha from 2007 to 2013 and raised several issues concerning agriculture and farming in India.