Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin on Wednesday informed the assembly that the agriculture college and research institute located at Eachankottai in Thanjavur district will be named after late renowned agricultural scientist MS Swaminathan. He also announced that an award in the name of the scientist will be given to honour agriculture students.
Mankombu Sambasivam Swaminathan, a renowned agricultural scientist, was called the father of India’s green revolution.
After pursuing numerous degrees related to agriculture in the country, he obtained his PhD in genetics from Cambridge university and went to the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s laboratory of genetics. With a vision to create a famine-free India, he returned to the country in 1954 and joined the ICAR – Indian Agriculture Research Institute (IARI) where he served for 18 years.
In the 1960s during the famine, wheat was imported from America and it was predicted that many will die of starvation without being able to address the famine. But Swaminathan introduced a new variety of wheat and even attained 200% profit. Not just that, he also made India self-sufficient. The situation gradually changed and India turned into an exporter from an importer. He was appointed the director-general of the Indian council of agricultural research in 1972 and the principal secretary of agriculture to the government of India in 1979.
In 1982, Swaminathan was appointed the director general of the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) in the Philippines and in 1986, he was instrumental in ensuring that the war-torn Cambodia was supplied with copies of traditional rice seeds from the gene bank.
In 1987, he was honoured with the first world food prize and he used the prize money to set up MS Swaminathan research foundation (MSSRF) in Chennai the next year.
The organization does important fundamental research on coastal systems, biotechnology, biodiversity, ecotechnology, nutrition and climate change.
He also served as the president of the international union for conservation of nature between 1984 and 1990 and in 1983, he was appointed as the head of the advisory panel on food security under the world commission on environment and development.
He has received more than 40 awards and doctorates from over 38 universities across the globe.
Meanwhile, Stalin said, “The agriculture college and research institute located at Eachankottai in Thanjavur district will be named after the late renowned agricultural scientist MS Swaminathan. It will be called MS Swaminathan agriculture college. An award named after the scientist will be distributed to honour agriculture students.”