How was India benefited from the contributions of Sir M Visvesvaraya and Dr. MS Swaminathan in the fields of water engineering and agricultural science ?

Updated December 20, 2022

After independence, India did not have enough to feed its growing population. India was highly dependent on foreign imports of food grains to be supplied for the population. At these junctures, contributions of  Sir M Visvesvaraya and Dr. MS Swaminathan in the field of water engineering and agricultural science have improved India’s capability in water management and agricultural practices.

Sir Mokshagundam Visvesvaraya

Sir Mokshagundam Visvesvaraya, more commonly known as Sir MV was born on 15th September 1860 and died on 14 April 1962. He was an Indian civil engineer and statesman and served as a 19th Diwan of Mysore from 1912 to 1919. He received Bharat Ratna, the highest honor of India, in 1955. He was knighted as a Knight Commander of the British Indian Empire (KCIE) by King George V for his contributions to the public good. In India, Sri Lanka, and Tanzania, 15 September, his birthday is celebrated as Engineer’s Day in his memory. In the north-west suburb of Mysuru city, he was the Chief Engineer of Krishna Raja Sagara dam. And, for the city of Hyderabad, he also served as one of the Chief Engineers of the flood protection system.

His contribution to harnessing water resources is known the world over for. Visvesvaraya was among the great forces who are responsible for the building and consolidation of dams across the country. He is also credited with inventing the Block System, automated doors that close water overflow. He designed and patented the floodgates which were first installed at the Khadakwasla reservoir in Pune in 1903.

Dr. Mankombu Sambasivan Swaminathan

Mankombu Sambasivan Swaminathan was born on 7th August 1925. He is an Indian geneticist and administrator, known for his contribution to making the Green Revolution a Succesful program in India. The Green Revolution is an initiative under which high-yield varieties of wheat and rice were planted. And, after the introduction of the initiative, India became one of the largest producers of grains within a very short period of time which help India get rid of hunger and poverty to a large extent. For his role in introducing and further developing high-yielding varieties of wheat in India, Swaminathan has been called the “Father of Green Revolution in India”. He is the founder of the MS Swaminathan Research Foundation and also headed a program for sustainable growth in the country, which he calls an “evergreen revolution”. His stated vision is to relieve the world of hunger and poverty.

He was the director-general of the Indian Council of Agricultural research from 1972 to 1979. He was Principal Secretary, Ministry 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. In 1999, he was one of 3 Indians on Time’s list of the 20 most influential Asian people of the 20th century.

Contributions of Sir M Visvesvaraya and Dr. MS Swaminathan Respectively

Sir M Visvesvaraya and Dr. MS Swaminathan are considered as architects of modern India, as their contributions in the fields of water engineering and agricultural science significantly shaped our current position in the world.

Contributions of Sir M Visvesvaraya

Improved Irrigation systems

The southern part of Karnataka was extensively irrigated by constructing the Krishna Raja Sagar dam and developing a canal system. Krishna Raja Sagar dam was constructed in 1924  and Sir M Visvesvaraya played an important part in its construction. The construction of the dam provided drinking water and irrigation which enabled the region to convert into a sugar bowl of the state.

Improved Water Utilization techniques

Water could be optimally utilized by the population so that, Sir M. Visvesvaraya developed modern techniques such as Weir Floodgate. For Sindh, he developed a water supply system and also designed a drinking water storage facility for the Hyderabad state.

Hydropower harvesting 

Sir M. Visvesvaraya was responsible for hydropower development in Karnataka state even before the rest of the country. He designed power stations in Sivasamudram and Gersoppa in Karnataka, which now provide electricity to industries and framers to practice agriculture.


The region along the coast needs a navigation facility for its development. Sir M Visvesvaraya player a prominent role in pioneering Vishakhapatnam Port and protecting it from marine erosion. He also has a significant role in constructing the Mokama bridge on the Ganges.

Contributions of Dr. MS Swaminathan

Hybrid variety of seeds

Wheather is quite uncertain and farmers face huge losses due to changes in temperature as the crops cant sustain in varying temperatures.  Dr. MS Swaminathan played a key role in developing varieties of Wheat and Rice, which were capable of sustaining variable temperatures, diseases and also gave high yield for the farmers.

Food fortification

Farmland is decreasing day by day and the population is increasing at rapid speed. So it becomes difficult to fulfill the market requirements and in this context, industrialized farming is practiced. Using chemical fertilizers and enhancers degrades the nutritional value of the crops. Dr. Swaminathan was a great force behind developing varieties of crops that were incorporated with certain nutrients that supplemented health benefits for the consuming population. This reduced malnutrition significantly.

Food security

After independence, India was highly dependent on foreign imports of food grains to feed its growing population. The green revolution, headed by Dr. Swaminathan, was successful in making India the largest food grain producer.

Thus, we can observe that the contributions of Sir M Visvesvaraya and Dr. MS Swaminathan or scientist and engineer changed the fate of our country for good. Now the fruits of their labor are reaped by our country in the field of water engineering and agriculture science.

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