Obituary Current Affairs

India’s Green Revolution pioneer Dr Gurcharan Singh Kalkat passes away

Noted agricultural scientist and pioneer of India’s Green Revolution, Gurcharan Singh Kalkat (92), passed away in Chandigarh after a brief illness.

He was known for his role in bringing Green Revolution and several exemplary agricultural reforms in Punjab. His contribution had ensured overall development and a phenomenal growth in the agriculture sector.

Gurcharan Singh Kalkat

He was born in Hoshiarpur’s Sahora village on June 17, 1926. He had obtained his BSc Agriculture degree from Punjab Agriculture College, Lyallpur (now Pakistan) in 1947.

He had joined Ohio State University in January 1957 as a Rockfeller Fellow and had completed his PhD in agricultural zoology-entomology in December 1958. He was later honoured with Distinguished International Student Award of the university.

Kalkat also had worked as a senior agriculturist with the World Bank and was stationed at Washington DC from 1978-1989. During this period, he worked on agriculture and rural development programmes of Nigeria and Ghana where he was pioneer in introducing shallow tubewells for irrigation and hand pumps for drinking water. He also supervised implementation of World Bank assisted programmes in India, Sri Lanka, Nepal and Indonesia.

During his tenure as director agriculture, Punjab and agriculture commissioner (additional secretary), India had witnessed Green Revolution. He also had held reins of Punjab Agricultural University, Ludhiana as its vice chancellor from 1998 to 2001. He was awarded Padma Shri and Padma Bhushan for his work.


Lalji Singh: Father of DNA fingerprinting in India passes away

Eminent scientist and father of DNA fingerprinting in India Lalji Singh passed away following heart attack. He was 70. He was one of the leaders instrumental in making DNA fingerprinting mainstream in India, both at level of research as well as for forensic applications.

Contributions of Lalji Singh

He also set up a slew of dedicated labs that worked on several aspects of genetics such as population biology, structural biology and transgenic research. His work in field of DNA fingerprinting technology also contributed for sex determination, Wildlife conservation forensics and evolution and migration of humans.

Based on his work he was tasked by government to establish Centre for DNA Fingerprinting and Diagnostics (CDFD) in late 1990s with mandate of making it a nodal centre for DNA fingerprinting and diagnostics for all species and several diseases.He also had founded Laboratory for Conservation of Endangered Species (LaCONES).

Lalji Singh

Dr. Singh served as a director at the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB) in Hyderabad from 1998 to 2009. He also had served as Vice Chancellor of the Banaras Hindu University (2001 – 2014), his alma mater.

Until recently, he was active in the Genome Foundation, a non-profit organisation that aims to diagnose and treat genetic disorders affecting the underprivileged, especially from rural India. He was awarded prestigious Padma Shri award.