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MS Swaminathan’s Achievements and Role in the Green Revolution

The Green Revolution began in the 1960s. During this time, the farming of  India converted into a modern industrial system via the employment of innovations such as high-yielding variety (HYV) seeds, mechanised farm implements, irrigation systems, herbicides, and fertilisers. MS Swaminathan lit up this journey of the green revolution.   He developed new varieties of seeds, pesticides and agricultural techniques to boost Indian agriculture. Swaminathan worked with Norman Borlaug and other scientists to bring a social revolution with farmers and government policies in famine-like circumstances in the 1960s. For this reason, MS Swaminathan is known as the “Father of the Green Revolution”. The present article focuses on his achievements and his role in the green revolution.

Early Life & Education: 

On August 7, 1925, Swaminathan was born in Kumbakonam, Madras Presidency, the second son of Dr M. K. Sambasivan and Parvati Thangammal Sambasivan. He started his study in the local high school before transferring to the Catholic Little Flower High School in Kumbakonam, where he passed the matric exam at the age of 15. He chose to devote his life to ensuring India had adequate food after witnessing the effects of the Bengal famine of 1943 during World War II and rice shortages throughout the subcontinent. 

MS Swaminathan completed his undergraduate degree in zoology. After that, he continued his further studies in Agricultural science and genetics.

Research work 

  • In 1947, he came to New Delhi to study genetics and plant breeding at the Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI). In 1949, he earned a postgraduate degree with honours in cytogenetics. His study concentrated on the genus Solanum, with a particular emphasis on the potato.   

  • The need for potatoes during Wartime caused variations in age-old agricultural cycles. In certain regions, such as recovered agricultural fields, this resulted in golden nematode infestations. Swaminathan focused on modifying genes to enable resistance to parasites and cold conditions. This study was successful in supplying the potato demand.        

  • He was a part of Krishnaswami Ramiah’s indica-japonica rice hybridisation programme at Cuttack. This experience would have an impact on his future work with wheat. In October 1954, he worked as an assistant cytogeneticist at the Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI). Swaminathan criticised India for importing food grains when agriculture provided 70% of India’s income. Then he continued his research work to produce more agricultural products in time with the ambition that India would become a food exporter in the future.

  • Swaminathan conducted foundational studies on the cytogenetics of hexaploid wheat in the 1950s and 1960s.   Swaminathan and Borlaug Developed many varieties of rice and grains to lay the groundwork for the green revolution.

  • Under Swaminathan’s leadership, efforts were launched at the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) to cultivate rice with C4 carbon fixation capabilities, enabling improved photosynthesis and water utilisation. Swaminathan also contributed to developing the world’s first high-yielding basmati rice.

Role in Green Revolution

After lots of research work and the development of new seed varieties, when the green revolution started in the western country, MS Swaminathan led it to India. In India, as an agriculture scientist, he used his knowledge. He started teaching Indian farmers how to boost their output through high-yielding wheat varieties, fertilisers, and modern agricultural practices that put less load on farmers.

In 1960, he worked with Norman Borlaug and other scientists to produce HYV wheat seeds, which he pushed farmers across the country to use. Swaminathan organised hundreds of exhibitions in the northern portion of the country in 1965 to teach small-scale farmers how genetically engineered grains might enable them to grow higher yields in the same land. These demonstrations were game-changing since the crop tripled prior output levels in the first year of the green revolution era. Swaminathan trained farmers to use these new approaches, overcoming the illiteracy barrier. Because of his efforts, the average agricultural production increased from 12 million tonnes to 23 million tonnes in just four crop seasons.

Swaminathan then worked with Prime Minister Indira Gandhi to develop agricultural programs and policies that would assist the country in remaining self-sufficient in agriculture for many years. Swaminathan served as the Ministry of Agriculture’s Principal Secretary from 1979 to 1980. From 1972 until 1979, he was the Director-General of the Indian Council of Agricultural Research. From 1980 to 1982, he served on the Planning Commission, where he was in charge of agricultural and rural development.


The achievements of MS Swaminathan are as follows-

  • Swaminathan and Norman Borlaug worked together to deliver supplies for various Mexican dwarf wheat cultivars to be crossed with Japanese kinds. Initial findings in an experimental plot were promising. The crop had a high yield, was of great quality, and was disease-free. After this, he developed different hybrid crop seeds.

  • Swaminathan’s efforts in agriculture increased the productivity of foods like rice, wheat, gram, maize etc.

  • During the green revolution, MS Swaminathan focused on advanced agricultural instruments for farming. The result also impacts the industrial growth of machinery supply.

  • His demonstrations in various parts of India altered rural people’s perceptions. Farmers have embraced new agricultural practices to get new information and implement it in agriculture.

  • Swaminathan’s report on neutron radiation in agriculture, given in 1966 at an International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) meeting in the United States, is described as “epoch-making” by Rudy Rabbinge. Swaminathan and his colleagues’ study was significant to food irradiation.


Swaminathan’s role was to offer various pathways and techniques for navigating a Green Revolution period. Observing the rice shortages across the subcontinent, he decided to devote his life to ensuring that India had adequate food. Despite his family history and the fact that he grew up in an era when medicine and engineering were regarded far more respectable, he chose agriculture. His inventions and efforts changed the agricultural system and taught us how to increase production in the same land.  Considering his contributions, we may conclude that MS Swaminathan is the “Father of Green Revolution”.


Frequently asked questions

Get answers to the most common queries related to the SSC Examination Preparation.

What is MS Swaminathan's involvement in the Green Revolution?

Answer: MS Swaminathan is the “Father of the Green Revolution,”. Swaminathan created high-yielding wheat varieties (HYV) and then suppo...Read full

What are MS Swaminathan's accomplishments?

Answer: Swaminathan has won various honours and accolades, including the Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Award, the Ramon Magsaysay Award, and the Albert E...Read full

In which states did the Green Revolution gain traction?

Answer: The state of Punjab is claimed to have benefited the most from the green revolution in India, with foodgrain...Read full

What is the Green Revolution's influence on India?

Answer: In 1978/79, the Green Revolution resulted in a record grain output of 131 million tonnes. This cemented Indi...Read full