NEW DELHI: M S Swaminathan, posthumously conferred India’s highest civilian award Bharat Ratna on Friday, will be remembered not just as an architect of the green revolution that turned India into a foodgrain surplus nation but also as a pioneer of all future reforms that continue to dominate the policy spectrum in the farm sector.
The national food security law, gradual liberalisation of agri markets, and the consistent rise in minimum support price (MSP) for procurement of key crops factoring in weighted average cost of production are some of his other significant contributions.
The policies he championed dominated political discourse since the beginning of the green revolution in 1960s’ and with the latest being the three farm laws, now repealed, whose seeds were sown by the National Commission on Farmers led by Swaminathan.
The commission had submitted five reports during December 2004 – October 2006 which will continue to guide policymakers in the country. It was Swaminathan who convinced the govt to come up with a national farmers welfare policy and gave recommendations to pay farmers MSP that should be at least 50% more than the cultivation cost.
First as director of the Indian Agricultural Research Institute (1961-72), and then as director general of Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) and secretary of Department of Agricultural Research and Education (DARE) during 1972-79, Swaminathan laid the foundation of research that resulted in development of several high-yielding and drought/flood-resistant varieties of seeds.
“In fact, our long awaited dream has finally come true. Contributions of Swaminathan towards household food security shall be remembered with great respect by all. He has been a true son of India whose legacy through national farmers welfare policy will be remembered with great respect and admiration,” said R S Paroda, former DG, ICAR and secretary, DARE.
Paroda is among the eminent agriculture scientists who had long been pitching for honouring Swaminathan posthumously with Bharat Ratna.
Creation of All India Agricultural Research Service, strengthening of all India coordinated projects ensuring networking of scientists from across the country, promoting cultivation of climate-resistant coarse cereals and including it in the public distribution system (PDS) network, starting of lab-to-land programme to transfer agricultural technologies to farmers, and establishment of the National Academy of Agricultural Sciences are some of the other significant contributions of Swaminathan.
With the proceeds of the first World Food Prize that he received in 1987, he founded the M S Swaminathan Research Foundation (MSSRF) in 1988. The Foundation. a not-for-profit trust, aims to “accelerate use of modern science and technology for agricultural and rural development” to improve lives and livelihoods of communities.


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