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September 29, 2023 @ 7:30 am - 11:30 pm


The nation mourned the death of a legendry scientist who filled all our plates with food. MS Swaminathan, an agricultural scientist, is rightly named, the “Father of the Green Revolution” and developed high-yielding breeds to yield more produce.

The true son of the soil breathed his last. All the renowned dignitaries across the political spectrum reminded his contribution in the making of our nation.

A True Hero of India

He championed the farmers’ cause, advocating for fair prices, access to technology, and social justice within the agricultural landscape.

Nutritional quality through mutation of crops, bio-fortification, funding States to promote agriculture, precision farming, advocacy through National Academy of Agricultural Sciences and establishment of a Central Institute for Women in Agriculture were all his pet project

Here is an overview of his work and his successes 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.

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: 

MS Swaminathan was born on August 7, 1925. 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.

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.

Awards and Prizes

“He pioneered path-breaking research in the agriculture science for which he got a range of awards– from Padma Vibhushan to the prestigious World Food Prize,”.


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”.

“The Nation mourns the falling of its hero”

Mains Questions

  1. Give an overview of MS Swaminathan’s contribution to the Indian Agriculture? (150 Words) 10 Marks
  2. Though the Green Revolution is praised for its contribution towards increasing the crop yield, it left its negative footprints as well. Comment (150 Words) 10 Marks


A good part of the world’s population is growing older, and India mirrors this trend as well. The reality, according to the United Nations Population Fund’s India Ageing Report 2023, is that the population above 60 years will double from 10.5% or 14.9 crore (as on July 1, 2022) to 20.8% or 34.7 crore by 2050.

With one in five individuals set to be a senior citizen, there will be implications for health, economy, and society. In Kerala and West Bengal for instance, there is a growing population of the elderly who live alone as children migrate for better opportunities.

What is leading to the growth of elderly population?

With life expectancy increasing, thanks to better ways to fight disease, and decreasing fertility rates in many countries, including India, there are challenges in nurturing an expanding elderly population.

Within this macro phenomenon, there are myriad other data of importance. For instance, women elderly citizens outnumber their male counterparts.

If women in India, where labour force participation is low at 24%, do not have economic and social security, they will become more vulnerable in old age.

Elderly Statistics in India

According to Population Census 2011 there are nearly 104 million elderly persons (aged 60 years or above) in India; 53 million females and 51 million males.

A report released by the United Nations Population Fund and HelpAge India suggests that the number of elderly persons is expected to grow to 173 million by 2026.

According to the Report of the Technical Group on Population Projections for India and States 2011-2036, there are nearly 138 million elderly persons in India in 2021 (67 million males and 71 million females) and is further expected to increase by around 56 million elderly persons in 2031.

Inter-State Variations

There are also significant inter-State variations. Most States in the south reported a higher share of the elderly population than the national average in 2021, a gap that is expected to widen by 2036.

While States with higher fertility rates, such as Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, expect to see an increase in the share of the elderly population too by 2036, the level will remain lower than the Indian average.

Poor and the Wealth Quotient

Overall, more than two-fifths of the elderly are in the poorest wealth quintile — ranging from 5% in Punjab to 47% in Chhattisgarh; also, 18.7% of the elderly do not have any income.

Common Health Issues

The Urban-Rural Divide

A high proportion of the rural population is among the elderly and often economically deprived. To meet the challenges, physical and mental health, basic needs of food and shelter, income security, and social care, a ‘whole-of-society’ approach is required.

Geriatric (Elderly) care must be fine-tuned to their unique health-care needs. There are several schemes targeting the elderly, but many are unaware of them or find it too cumbersome to sign up.

Initiatives for the elderly in India:

Support initiatives under the Department of Social Justice and Empowerment

  1. Atal Vayo Abhyudaya Yojana (AVYAY):

This Plan takes care of the top four needs of the senior citizens viz financial security, food, health care and human interaction /life of dignity. AVYAY is an umbrella scheme, effective since 1st April 2021, has following schemes under it, namely:

  1. Scheme of Integrated Programme for Senior Citizens (IPSrC): Setting up of Homes to improve the quality of life of the Senior Citizens
  2. State Action Plan for Senior Citizens (SAPSrC): The Government of India perceives a major and critical role of all State Governments in partnering and implementing this Action Plan for welfare of senior citizens.
  3. Rashtriya Vayoshri Yojana’ (RVY): A scheme for providing physical Aids and Assisted living devices to Senior Citizens.
  4. Livelihood and Skilling Initiatives for Senior Citizens – Senior Able Citizens for Re-Employment in Dignity (SACRED); Action Groups Aimed at Social Reconstruction (AGRASR Groups):
  5. Livelihood and Skilling Initiatives for Senior Citizens– A new scheme with following two components: –
  • Senior Able Citizens for Re-Employment in Dignity (SACRED)
  • Action Groups Aimed at Social Reconstruction (AGRASR Groups)
  1. Promoting Silver Economy – This is also a new scheme launched with an objective to encourage the entrepreneurs for to think about the problems of the elderly.

Initiatives under the Ministry of Rural Development

  1. National Social Assistance Programme (NSAP): Under National Social Assistance Program (NSAP) scheme, the elderly, widows, and disabled persons belonging to Below Poverty Line (BPL) and fulfilling eligibility criteria prescribed in the NSAP guidelines, are provided financial assistance ranging from Rs.200/- to Rs.500/- p.m. and in the case of death of the breadwinner, a lumpsum assistance of Rs.20,000/- is given to the bereaved family.
  2. Indira Gandhi National Old Age Pension Scheme (IGNOAPS): A monthly pension of Rs.200/- is given to elderly aged 60-79 years belonging to BPL category. The pension increases to Rs.500/-per month upon attaining the age of 80 years. The total beneficiaries under the scheme are 221 lakh.
  3. Indira Gandhi National Disability Pension Scheme (IGNDPS): A monthly pension of Rs.300/- is given to BPL persons aged 18-79 years with severe and multiple disabilities (80% disability level). The pension increases to Rs.500/- per month upon attaining the age of 80 years. The total beneficiaries under the scheme are 10.58 lakh.

Support Initiatives under the Ministry of Health

“National Programme for the Health Care of Elderly” (NPHCE) launched during 2010-11 is State oriented program with the basic thrust to provide comprehensive and dedicated health care facilities to the elderly persons above 60 year of age at various level of primary, secondary and tertiary health care.

What are the Problems Associated with the Ageing Population?


Indian society is undergoing rapid transformation under the impact of industrialization, urbanization, technical & technological change, education and globalization.

Consequently, the traditional values and institutions are in the process of erosion and adaptation, resulting in the weakening of intergenerational ties that were the hallmark of the traditional family.

Industrialization has replaced the simple family production units by the mass production and the factory.

Other Problems:

  1. Negligence by kids towards their old parents.
  2. Disillusionment due to retirement.
  3. Feeling of powerlessness, loneliness, uselessness and isolation in elderly.
  4. Generational gap.


  1. Retirement and dependence of elderly on their child for basic necessity.
  2. Sudden increase in out-of-pocket expenses on treatment.
  3. Migration of young working-age persons from rural areas has negative impacts on the elderly, living alone or with only the spouse, usually poverty and distress.
  4. Insufficient housing facility.

A national survey carried out by the NGO HelpAge India has shown that as many as 47% of elderly people are economically dependent on their families for income and 34% are relied on pensions and cash transfers, while 40% of the surveyed people have expressed the desire to work “as long as possible”.


  1. Health issues like blindness, locomotor disabilities and deafness are most prevalent.
  2. Mental illness arising from senility (showing poor mental ability because of old age) and neurosis.
  3. Neurosis is a class of functional mental disorders involving chronic distress, but neither delusions nor hallucinations.
  4. Absence of geriatric care facilities at hospitals in rural areas.

According to a recent survey, 30% to 50% of elderly people had symptoms that make them depressed. A large majority of elderly persons living alone are women, especially widows.

Depression is strongly correlated with poverty, poor health, and loneliness.

What best can be done for them?

Protection from Destitution: The first step towards a dignified life for the elderly is to protect them from destitution and all the deprivations that may come with it.

Cash in the form of a pension can help to cope with many health issues and avoid loneliness as well.

That is why old-age pensions are a vital part of social security systems around the world.

Emulating the Frontrunners: The southern States and India’s poorer States such as Odisha and Rajasthan have achieved near-universal social security pensions. Their actions are worth emulating.

Focus on Revamping Pension Schemes: Another critical area would be bringing reforms in the social security pensions.

They also need other support and facilities such as health care, disability aids, assistance with daily tasks, recreation opportunities and a good social life.

Transparent “Exclusion Criteria”: A better approach is to consider all widows and elderly or disabled persons as eligible, subject to simple and transparent “exclusion criteria”.

Eligibility can even be self-declared, with the burden of time-bound verification being placed on the local administration or gram panchayat.

Although there are chances of privileged households taking the advantage, it is much preferable to accommodate some inclusion errors than to perpetuate the massive exclusion errors as is the case today.


National Policy on Older Persons, 1999 and the Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act, 2007 lay down the care of the elderly but to ensure that senior citizens live in dignity, public and private policies must provide a more supportive environment.

We can also work towards channelising corporate responsibility funds for the welfare of the elderly.



September 29, 2023
7:30 am - 11:30 pm
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