Eminent Agriculturist MS Swaminathan passed away at Chennai on Thursday morning. He is survived by three daughters Nitya Rao, Madhura Swaminathan and Soumya Swaminathan.
He was referred to as the father of Green Revolution in India, for his leadership and role in introducing and further developing high-yielding varieties of wheat and rice in the country. This resulted in the country's transition from a food grains exporting nation to self-sufficiency in food grain production.
He was commended by Nobel laureate Norman Borlaug as the driving force behind the Green Revolution in Asia. In his letter to Swaminathan, he mentions "The Green Revolution has been a team effort and much of the credit for its spectacular development must go to the Indian officials, organizations, scientists, and farmers. However, to you, Dr. Swaminathan, a great deal of the credit must go for first recognizing the potential value of the Mexican dwarfs. Had this not occurred, it is quite possible that there would not have been a Green Revolution in Asia."
Some of the important assignments that he tenanted in his illustrious career are 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 his later years, he set up the MS Swaminathan Research Foundation from the prize money that he received when he was awarded the First World Food Prize in 1987. The foundation undertook several notable projects and provided valuable insights into increasing not only the agricultural yield but also the conditions of farmers.