Indians on the IRRI Board

Subbanna Ayyappan

Dr. S. Ayyappan is the former Secretary of the Department of Agricultural Research and Education (DARE) of the Ministry of Agriculture of India. He is also former Director General of the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR), where he worked previously as Deputy Director General of Fisheries.

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Rita Sharma

As a public servant, she has assumed various positions such as secretary to the Government of India in the Ministry of Rural Development, special secretary in the Department of Agricultural Research and Education, commissioner of land resources and extension in the Ministry of Agriculture, and principal secretary and financial commissioner in the Department of Finance in the state government of Uttar Pradesh.

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Usha Barwale Zehr

Dr. Barwale Zehr is a member of the board of the M.S. Swaminathan Research Foundation, the Barwale Foundation, Sankara Netralaya, and the Donald Danforth Plant Science Centre. She served as a member of the Technical Advisory Committee of the CGIAR (1997-2002) and is a member of the Private Sector Committee of the CGIAR; Intellectual Property Committee of the International Seed Federation; National Biotechnology Network; World Water Commission and the Department of the Government of India. She is also a director of Mahyco Vegetables Seeds Ltd., Jalna.

Mangala Rai

Dr. Rai started his professional career as a junior plant breeder in April 1973 and worked his way up from senior scientists at the Indian Council for Agricultural Research (ICAR) to plant breeder-cum-reader at the Orissa University of Agriculture and Technology, ICAR project coordinator (linseed), assistant director general (seeds), assistant director general (policy and perspective), and deputy director general (crop science). He was also director (oilseed technology, Technology Mission on Oilseeds), national director (National Agricultural Technology Project), and agricultural commissioner for the Government of India. He took over as secretary of the Government of India’s Department of Agricultural Research and Education and director general of the ICAR in 2003.

Ebrahimali Abubacker Siddiq

Dr. Siddiq began his career in 1968 as a cytogeneticist at the Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI). From 1976 to 1983, he was senior scientist in the same institute. He spent 3 years in Egypt as a rice expert during his stint at the International Rice Research Institute (1983-86). He returned to IARI and was appointed professor of genetics (1986-87). In late 1987, he became project director at the Directorate of Rice Research (1987-94). He assumed the position of deputy director general (crop science) of the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (1994-97).

His research in plant breeding for the last 3 ½ decades contributed to the development and release of high-yielding dwarf basmati and nonbasmati varieties and hybrid rice, thereby boosting rice production in India.

Virender L. Chopra

He served the Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI) for two decades. He was professor of genetics from 1970 to 1984, including two periods as head of the Division of Genetics. In 1985, he was named director and professor of eminence of the IARI Biotechnology Centre, building it from scratch into an institution of international standing. He was an FAO consultant/ chief technical adviser to the Government of Vietnam during 1990-91, helping establish the Institute of Agricultural Genetics. In January 1992, Chopra was appointed director general of the Indian Council of Agricultural Research and secretary, Department of Agricultural Research and Education of the Ministry of Agriculture.

Chopra received his BS in agriculture from Delhi University in 1955, his associateship from the Indian Agricultural Research Institute in 1957, and his PhD from the University of Edinburgh in 1967.

Rajendra S. Paroda

Dr. Rajendra Singh Paroda was a former Director General of the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) and Secretary, Department of Agricultural Research and Education (DARE), Government of India. He was General President of the Indian Science Congress Association during 2000-2001 and was the President of National Academy of Agricultural Sciences (NAAS) from 1998-2000. He was elected as the first Chairman of the Global Forum on Agricultural Research (GFAR), FAO, Rome from 1998-2001. He is also serving as Executive Secretary of the Asia Pacific Association of Agricultural Research Institutions (APAARI) based at FAO Regional Office, Bangkok since 1992.

He served as Chairman for the Board of Trustees at ICRISAT in Hyderabad, and became a member of the IRRI Board in Los Banos, Philippines. He consequently became a member of the Advisory Council of Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR), Canberra, and the Commonwealth Agriculture Bureau International (CABI), London.

Mangina Venkateswara Rao

M. V. Rao was a former consultant to the World Bank and a former special director general, Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR). He was on the board of trustees of the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) in Los Baños, Philippines from 1984 to 89. He also became an external panel expert at the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center in Mexico.  He also became Chairman of the Biotechnology Programme Committee, Biotechnology Unit, Institute of Public Enterprise, Hyderabad.

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Monkombu S. Swaminathan2

Swaminathan is known as the "Father of the Green Revolution in India," for his leadership and success in introducing and further developing high-yielding varieties of wheat in India. He is the founder and chairman of the MS Swaminathan Research Foundation. His stated vision is to rid the world of hunger and poverty.[2] Swaminathan is an advocate of moving India to sustainable development, especially using environmentally sustainable agriculture, sustainable food security and the preservation of biodiversity, which he calls an "evergreen revolution."

From 1972 to 1979 he was director general of the Indian Council of Agricultural Research. He was minister of Agriculture from 1979 to 1980. He served as director general of the International Rice Research Institute (1982–88) and became president of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources in 1988.

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Hare Krishna Pande

Mr. Clarence C. Gray, III, who was the chairman of the IRRI Board of Trustees in the late 1970’s invited Dr. Pande to serve on the Board. He accepted the offer in 1978, and served for a term. Before this, he had been director of the Central Rice Research Institute (CRRI) in Cuttack, Orissa, India. At that time, CRRI identified problems of national importance and undertook research activities on various aspects of rice improvement.  

Sukhadev Singh1

Dr. Singh was invited became a member of the IRRI Board of Trustees in the 1970’s. In 1972, he was nominated eminent scientist by a governing body of the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR). Around 1976, he was its deputy director general, and he also became the vice chancellor of the Punjab Agricultural University in Ludhiana, Punjab, India.

Chidambaram Subramanian

He was known for his role in introducing the hybrid Mexican variety of wheat in India, but he was also instrumental in introducing the hybrid rice, Taichung Native 1. It wasn’t only high-yielding, but also hardy and drought-tolerant so it was perfect for India’s conditions. Despite skepticism among Indian and western scientists, Subramaniam, who was then at the International Rice Research Institute, managed to convince some to try the variety in India. In the years that followed, rice production increased several-fold and today India is self-sufficient in the crop.

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Sishta Venkata  S. Shastry

In an effort to develop a multi-disciplinary rice improvement program, Dr. Shastry became engaged in the All-India Coordinated Rice Improvement Project and in different rice research stations in India. As part of the team, he was involved in developing high-yielding, superior grain quality rice varieties that have been widespread in India. He worked with the State Departments of Agriculture in India and has been engaged in the development programs of rice leading to the spread of dwarf high-yielding rice varieties.

Benjamin Peary Pal1

Benjamin Peary Pal was the first Director-General of the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR). He was responsible for starting the All India Coordinated Research, and it was through his initiative that the National Bureau of Plant Genetic Resources came into existence. Pal was an institution builder, able administrator and a policy maker. He groomed a large number of scientists, who later became leaders in agricultural research in India and abroad. He was a foreign member of the All Union Lenin Academy of Sciences and a Fellow of the Royal Society, London.

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N. Parthasarathy

As director of the Central Rice Research Institute (CRRI), Cuttack from 1952 to 1958, Dr. Parthasarathy initiated interdisciplinary research on rice improvement and conducted two international rice breeding courses at CRRI under the sponsorship of FAO.

After his retirement, Dr. Parthasarathy served as FAO rice expert in Indonesia for a year and till April 1968 he was FAO rice improvement specialist for the Far East and Executive Secretary of International Rice Commission in Bangkok, Thailand. During his tenure with FAO, he was closely associated with the activities of International Rice Research Institute and was a member of its board of trustees from 1966 to 1969.

Dr. Parthasarathy was elected a fellow of the Indian National Science Academy (1949), president of the Indian Society of Genetics and Plant Breeding (1952 and 1970), and president of the Agricultural section of the Indian Science Congress (1953). He was honored by the Indian Government by Padma Sri Award and a medal by the Government of Korea.

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Prem Nath Thapar1

Thapar was named Secretary of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture from 1954 to 58, a position that would influence his later career. In 1958 he was named Secretary to the Ministry of Finance, where he remained until 1962.

In 1962 he was named the first Vice-Chancellor of the new Punjab Agricultural University and remained in that position until 1968, when he suffered a paralytic stroke. He is credited for gathering the group of scientists that ushered in the Green Revolution in Punjab in the 1960s. In his honor, the Dr. P.N. Thapar Gold Medal is awarded to the best all-around graduate of the university every year. He served on the Board of the International Rice Research Institute from 1964–1966, and as the president of the India Agricultural Universities Association from 1967-69.

Thapar was awarded an honorary Doctorate from Ohio State University in March 1969. He was also a founding member of the India National Theater in Chandigarh, India.

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K. R. Damle1

Dr. Damle was secretary of agriculture to the Government of India when he had been selected to serve on the IRRI Board of Trustees. He was the key government official with whom the Rockefeller Foundation worked out its agreement to support an agricultural program in India. He served as vice president of the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) from 1949 to 1955. In 1955, he also became part of the first joint Indo-American team in India. The team endorsed a recommendation by the University Education Commission that wherever possible each state should develop a rural university.  

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1 = Deceased
2 = Director General