The 7th Dr. M.S. Swaminathan Award for leadership in agriculture was given to Dr. William D. Dar, Director General, International Crop Research Institute for Semi Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) on 24th June, 2013 by Dr. K. Kasturirangan, Member, Planning Commission for outstanding contributions made towards food security and agricultural Sustainability in dry areas of Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa. This award has been instituted by the Trust for Advancement of Agricultural Sciences (TAAS). It is given to eminent scientists whose seminal contributions have made significant impact on the lives of common man. The first award in the series was given to Dr. Norman E Borlaug, the Notable Nobel laurel and eminent rice breeder and the father of Green Revolution; the second to Dr. Dr. Gurdev S. Khush, World Food Laureate; the third to Dr. Surinder K. Vasal, a renowned maize scientist and World Food Laureate; the fourth to Prof. Rattan Lal of Ohio State University, a world renowned authority on carbon sequestration; the fifth to Dr. Sanjay Rajaram, former Director, Wheat Program at CIMMYT and the sixth to Dr. M.C. Saxena, an eminent Agronomist, who headed the crop improvement and lentil research program at ICARDA, Syria.
Dignitories Sitting on the Dais
The Chief Guest of the function was Dr. K. Kasturirangan, whereas Dr. S. Ayyappan, Director General, ICAR and Secretary, DARE, Chaired the function. Dr. R.S. Paroda, Chairman, TAAS, Dr. N.N. Singh, Secretary TAAS, Dr. P.L. Gautam, Vice-Chairman, TAAS, Dr. H.S. Gupta, Director, IARI and Raju Barwale from Barwale Foundation were present on the dais. Dr. M.S. Swaminathan could not come being abroad.
The program started with the lighting of ceremonial lamp followed by welcome address by Dr. H.S. Gupta, who also read the message of Dr. Swaminathan, which be sent on the occasion, which reads as:
“I am happy that the Trust for Advancement of Agricultural Sciences (TAAS) has chosen recognition of the work of outstanding scientists as one of the methods of advancing the cause of scientific excellence and social relevance in agricultural research. I am happy that a series of awards starting with the recognition to the monumental contributions of Dr. Norman E Borlaug have been given over the years to highlight the role of science in improving the productivity, profitability and sustainability of cropping and farming systems. I am particularly happy that this year the award is going to Dr. William D. Dar, Director General of the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT). Dr. Dar is a pioneer in imparting a human face to scientific research and economic development. What we need is the kind of leadership that Dr. Dar is providing to ensure that science serves the cause of sustainable food security as well as human wellbeing and happiness. I wish the award ceremony great success. I express my gratitude to Dr. R.S. Paroda, Chairman, TAAS for his untiring efforts to harness the best in science for achieving the goal of food for all and forever”.
Dr. R.S. Paroda, Chairman, TAAS then gave a brief account of the genesis of TAAS and indicated that this Award was part of the mandate of TAAS. He elaborated that TAAS acts as a Think Tank, brings scientists and policy makers on a common platform, and provides a neutral platform for discussion on critical policy issues. He enumerated briefly some of the activities organized by TAAS enabled policy reorientation at the national level provided such inputs, e.g. biosafety regulatory authority of India (BRAI) bill, which is before the Parliament now, Public Private Partnership for revitalizing Indian sees sector, outscaling of farmer led innovations, household nutrition security through popularization of soybean as a food crop, inclusive of maize in national food security mission, role of women and youth in agriculture are some examples where TAAS could make important contributions. Today, presentation of this Award to Dr. William D. Dar is an example of recognition of his yeoman service to society with human face. He offered his hearty congratulations to Dr. Dar for being recipient of this prestigious award.
Mr. Raju Barwale offered his remarks and congratulated Dr. Dar on behalf of Barwale Foundation, which had been sponsoring this award from the beginning.
Chairman of the function Dr. S. Ayyappan, Director General, ICAR also lauded the achievements of Dr. Dar and congratulated him for this unique achievement.
Dr. N.N. Singh then read out the Citation before presentation of the Award.
The Award trophy was then presented to Dr. Dar by the Chief Guest Dr. K. Kasturirangan. After receiving the Award Dr. William Dar in his response said that he felt deeply honored to receive this Award which was a major milestone in his career. He then delivered his lecture entitled Enhancing the Linkages between the Farmers and Markets: The IMOD Way.
Dr. Kasturirangan, while making his remarks, said, “Such awards are very important as they, besides, recognizing important achievements, encourage scientists to work for the society. He indicated that often while allocating funds for research criticism is made, as to the outcome of research often does not match investments. He quoted an example of development of a rice variety which has covered major part of rice growing areas. This itself would account for massive economic returns. Similarly, researches in other areas would have resulted in massive economic gains. He suggested that a pragmatic assessment of the economic gains coming out of specific research and investment made should be brought out to highlight the economic impact of the researches made by the scientists.”
Dr. K. Kasturirangan addressing the Audience
Dr. Kasturirangan in his address congratulated Dr. William Dar for the prestigious Award presented to him He stressed that the benchmark set by this Award is very high as indicated by the earlier Awardees. He praised the research outcomes of the by scientists and said that Awards like this will go a long way to inspire young people to excell in science. He stressed the need to improve the quality of education by providing better facilities SAUs. He also emphasized on the need to ensure synergies achieving our common goals.
At the end, he read a brief quote on his behalf in favour of Dr. Dar as:
“Today Dr. William D. Dar joins a select group of extraordinary minds who have influenced, in a major way, the developments in agricultural science and through the same the global food security. Named after one of the legendary figures of Indian agriculture, Dr. M.S. Swaminathan, the father of India’s ‘Green Revolution’, this award is India’s version of world’s Food Prize. Needless to emphasize, the earlier awardees of this recognition are a list of who’s who among the top researchers who, besides making seminal contributions to this subject, have also helped in India in meeting the challenges of realizing food self-sufficiency and giving it a unique global leadership in the agriculture and associated endeavors. It is thus natural that Dr. Dar has been selected, by the Trust for Advancement of Agricultural Sciences (TAAS), as the awardee for this year recognizing his multidimensional and distinguished contributions as an eminent educationist, agriculturist, scientist, administrator and above all a fine humanitarian. His leadership to ICRISAT has been transformational and today this institution easily enjoys a reputation that places it among the top few centers of excellence recognized globally. I join everyone in this country, the scientific community and the agricultural scientists in particular, in extending my hearties congratulations to Dr. William D. Dar for this well deserved recognition”.
The Function ended by vote of thanks by Dr. P.L. Gautam, Vice-Chairman, TAAS.
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