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"Bharat Ratna for MS Swaminathan, a tribute to his lifelong dedication to agricultural science and farmers' welfare," says his daughter

Kasaragod (Kerala): Posthumous Bharat Ratna for MS Swaminathan, is a tribute to his lifelong dedication to agricultural science, farmers' welfare in the country, to the welfare of the poorest in society and the most vulnerable, said his daughter, Dr Soumya Swaminathan.

Soumya Swaminathan, former Chief Scientist and Deputy Director General at the WHO, emphasized that his motivation was never recognition but the tangible impact of his work.

"I'm sure that he would have also been happy if the news had come during his lifetime. But he was never somebody who worked for awards or who waited for recognition. A lot of awards and recognition came to him but he was motivated more by the results of what he did on the ground and the people's love and affection. Bharat Ratna is the highest honour that you can give. And he has been recognised for his lifetime of contributions, of course, to agriculture. But more important to farmers' welfare in the country and also to the welfare of the poorest in society and the most vulnerable. So it is a matter of pride and satisfaction that his whole life's work has been recognised by the government of India and by the prime minister," she said.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday announced Bharat Ratna, the country's highest civilian award, for agricultural scientist, also known as the father of India's Green Revolution, MS Swaminathan.

Swaminathan, a prominent figure in Indian agriculture famed for his leading role in India's 'Green Revolution', will be conferred the honour posthumously, the Prime Minister said.

On September 28, last year Swaminathan passed away at the age of 98 at his residence in Chennai.

Taking to 'X' PM Modi, said Swaminathan's visionary leadership has not only transformed Indian agriculture but also ensured the nation's food security and prosperity.

"It is a matter of immense joy that the Government of India is conferring the Bharat Ratna on Dr MS Swaminathan, 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. 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," Prime Minister Narendra Modi said in a post on 'X'.

Trained as a plant geneticist, Swaminathan's significant contributions to India's agricultural sector have earned him a reputation as the scientific leader of India's green revolution movement. His work has been instrumental in the agricultural renaissance of India.

This prestigious award recognises his pivotal role in achieving self-reliance in agriculture and modernising it during challenging times.

Born on August 7, 1925, Mankombu Sambasivan Swaminathan, established the MS Swaminathan Research Foundation (MSSRF) in Chennai in 1988.

His academic journey began with a B.Sc. degree in Zoology from Maharajas College in Thiruvananthapuram, followed by another BSc in Agricultural Sciences from Coimbatore Agricultural College. He then specialized in genetics and plant breeding, earning an M.Sc. degree in Agricultural Sciences from the Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI) in 1949. His academic pursuits took him to the UK, where he obtained a Ph.D. from Cambridge University in 1952.

He served as the Director General of Indian Council of Agricultural Research from 1972 to 1979 and International Rice Research Institute between 1982 to 1988. Swaminathan also served as the Principal Secretary of Ministry of Agriculture in 1979.

The Prime Minister further announced that the former Prime Minister of the country, Chaudhary Charan Singh and former PM PV Narasimha Rao will also be conferred with Bharat Ratna. 

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