Obituary Current Affairs

Kunwar Bai: 106-year-old icon for Swachh Bharat campaign passes away

Kunwar Bai, a 106-year-old woman from Chhattisgarh who was chosen as mascot for `Swachh Bharat Abhiyan’, passed away after a prolonged illness.  She had shot to fame in 2016 when story of her selling goats to build toilet at home had got nationwide publicity. She was felicitated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi at public meeting at Kurrubhat village in Rajnandgaon district and later made a mascot for Swachh Bharat Abhiyan.

Kunwar Bai

She was recognised by Prime Minister Narendra Modi for building toilet by selling off her 8-10 goats to build two toilets at her home. Apart from that, she started showing other villagers the toilets at her home while educating them about its importance. She had encouraged others from village to build toilets. Her efforts had help to make her village ‘open defecation free as very home in her village has toilets.


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.