MS Swaminathan, eminent agricultural scientist, passes away

Mankombu Sambasivan Swaminathan aka MS Swaminathan, world renowned agronomist, agricultural scientist and plant geneticist, is no more. He passed away at 11.20 am in Chennai at the age of 98.

Considered as the architect of India’s green revolution, he played a major role in introducing and further developing high-yielding varieties of wheat and rice.

The founder of MS Swaminathan Research Foundation, Swaminathan was acclaimed by the TIME magazine as one of the twenty most influential Asians of the 20th century and one of the only three from India, the other two being Mahatma Gandhi and Rabindranath Tagore.

The United Nations Environment Programme described him as “the Father of Economic Ecology” for his leadership of the ever-green revolution movement in agriculture and by Javier Perez de Cuellar, Secretary General of the United Nations, as “a living legend who will go into the annals of history as a world scientist of rare distinction”.

Swaminathan served as the Director of Indian Agricultural Research Institute (1961-72), Director General of Indian Council of Agricultural Research 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).