Updated February 9th, 2024 at 14:14 IST

How MS Swaminathan, Honoured the Bharat Ratna, Scripted India’s Green Revolution

Swaminathan was instrumental in developing high-yielding varieties of paddy that helped ensure India’s low-income farmers produce more yield

Reported by: Srinwanti Das
MS Swaminathan has been honoured with the Bharat Ratna | Image:X

Bharat Ratna for MS Swaminathan: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday announced Bharat Ratna, the country’s highest civilian award, for eminent agricultural scientist, Dr MSMankombu Sambasivan Swaminathan, who is known as the father of India’s Green Revolution.

Taking to his official account on X, PM Modi wrote, “It is a matter of immense joy that the Government of India is conferring the Bharat Ratna on Dr. MS Swaminathan Ji, in recognition of his monumental contributions to our nation in agriculture and farmers’ welfare.”


“He played a pivotal role in helping India achieve self-reliance in agriculture during challenging times and made outstanding efforts towards modernizing Indian agriculture. We also recognise his invaluable work as an innovator and mentor and encouraging learning and research among several students,” he further added, noting, “Dr. Swaminathan’s visionary leadership has not only transformed Indian agriculture but also ensured the nation’s food security and prosperity. He was someone I knew closely and l always valued his insights and inputs.”


Rooted in India's Agricultural Movement

Whenever the topic of food self-sufficiency in the Indian context will be discussed, Dr MS Swaminathan’s name will shine bright. Considered to be the father of the green revolution, MS Swaminathan scripted the country’s food security in the late 60s. 


Born in Tamil Nadu’s Kumbakonam on August 7, 1925, Swaminathan interacted with farming and farmers, while his family was closely associated with agriculture and cultivated rice, mangoes, coconut, and coffee. From an early age, Swaminathan was exposed to the impact that fluctuations in the price of crops had on his family and closely observed the devastation that weather and pests could cause to crops and how it could affect the income of farmers.

After experiencing the Bengal Famine in 1943, he made the decision of pursuing the field of agriculture.


How MS Swaminathan Scripted India’s Food Security: Top 6 Points

  • Swaminathan collaborated with Borlaug in crossing Japanese and Mexican dwarf varieties of wheat, which led to the high-yield, disease-free crop strains that revolutionised world agriculture.
  • Because of Swaminathan’s efforts, India went from being drought-stricken and dependent on US imports in the 1960s to being declared self-sufficient in food production in 1971.
  • As head of the National Commission on Farmers, he produced several reports which recommended minimum support prices for crops, suggestions for faster and more inclusive growth, and a holistic national policy addressing farmer suicides.
  • Swaminathan set up the MS Swaminathan Research Foundation in Chennai.
  • Swaminathan established the Nuclear Research Laboratory at the IARI. He played a role in and promoting the setting up of the International Crop Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics in India.
  • Swaminathan was instrumental in developing high-yielding varieties of paddy that helped ensure India’s low-income farmers produce more yield. 

MS Swaminathan’s Laurels

  • Dr Swaminathan was the first winner of the World Food Prize (1987)
  • He was also honoured with the Ramon Magsaysay award for community leadership in 1971
  • He received the Albert Einstein World Science Award in 1987
  • He also got the Indira Gandhi Prize for peace in 1994
  • He also got the UNEP Sasakawa Environment Prize in 1994
  • He was awarded with the UNESCO Gandhi Gold Medal in 1999
  • Swaminathan received the Padma Bhushan and Padma Vibhushan

MS Swaminathan passed away at the ripe age of 98. His contributions and reform policies as the architect of the green revolution of India made a lasting impact in India’s food security field.


Published February 9th, 2024 at 14:14 IST