M.S. Swaminathan : Father of the Indian Green Revolution

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M.S. Swaminathan: Father of the Indian Green Revolution

Why In News?

Agricultural scientist Mankombu Sambasivan Swaminatha (Dr. M.S. Swaminathan), the man behind India’s Green Revolution, passed away.

The Genesis of Green Revolution

Swaminathan’s legacy finds its roots in his development of high-yielding varieties (HYV) of wheat during the 1960s. Collaborating with scientist like Norman Borlaug, he played a pivotal role in averting a potential mass famine in India. This break-through marked the genesis of the Green Revolution in the country, earning Swaminathan his distinguished title.

Leadership and Global Impact

Swaminathan’s contribution transcended national borders. He served as the Director General of the Indian Council of Agricultural Research from 1972-1979, influencing key agricultural policies. Later he assumed the role of Principal Secretary of the Indian Ministry of Agriculture and Irrigation from 1979-1980.


Swaminathan’s contributions led him to receive various honors and awards which are as follows:

  • Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Award in 1961
  • Padma Vibhushan in 1989
  • Ramon Magsaysay Award in 1971
  • UNESCO Mahatma Gandhi Gold Medal in 1999

How Swaminathan contributed to the Green Revolution

  • After Swaminathan’s work on rice, he and other scientists would work on doing the same to enhance productivity for the wheat crop.
  • “Wheat was a different story because we had to get Norin dwarfing genes from Norman Borlaug in Mexico,” Swaminathan said. Borlaug was an American scientist who was working on developing more productive crop varieties. He would go on to win the Nobel Peace Prize in 1970 .

The side effects of the Green Revolution

Despite its landmark role in achieving food sufficient in India, the Green Revolution has been criticised on multiple counts, such as benefiting the already prosperous farmers as it was introduced in states with higher productivity.

Contributions to Kuttanad and Kerala’s biodiversity:

  • Kuttanad Package: The over ₹1,800-crore Kuttanad Package, recommended by the M.S. Swaminathan Research Foundation (MSSRF), recommended declaring the wetland system a ‘Special Agricultural Zone,‘ protecting water spread areas, modernizing infrastructure, and encouraging short-duration paddy varieties.
  • Biodiversity Conservation: The MSSRF’s 2008 report on the Idukki District (the Idukki Package) and the establishment of the ‘Community Agrobiodiversity Centre’ in Wayanad reflected his commitment to biodiversity conservation.
  • He advocated public awareness, community participation, and economic incentives for in situ and on-farm conservation traditions.

Benefits of the Green Revolution

  • It has positive effects on the overall food security in India. It led to an increase in agricultural production, especially in Haryana, Punjab, and Uttar Pradesh.
  • The Green Revolution led to the high productivity of crops through adapted measures, such as
  • Increased area under farming,
  • Double-cropping, which includes planting two crops rather than one, annually,
  • Adoption of HYV of seeds,

Source – Indian Express

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