Scientist who revolutionised India's greening

The history of agricultural development in India is intimately connected with the achievements of one of the country's foremost agricultural scientists, Dr B. P. Pal. The Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI) was earlier located in Pusa, Bihar, but after a severe earthquake damaged its main building, the Institute was shifted to New Delhi in 1936. Dr Pal was the first Indian Director of the IARI in New Delhi at its campus, which was named Pusa, in 1950 and continued to serve in that capacity until May 1965, when he became the first Director-General of the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR). He held this position from May 1965 to January 1972, during which period the Green Revolution was launched with outstanding success.

Dr Pal's major contribution to the scientific aspects of the Green Revolution was in the area of wheat genetics and breeding. He observed that rust disease was largely responsible for low yields of wheat and, therefore, developed a systematic breeding method to develop varieties with resistance to rust disease.

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