Khem Singh Gill earned his BSc (Ag) and MSc (Ag) degrees from the Punjab University and served the Department of Agriculture, Punjab and Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) as Research Assistant and Assistant Oilseed Breeder, respectively (1955-63). He studied at the University of California, Riverside, USA (1963-66) and obtained PhD (Genetics). He served PAU as Associate Professor (Genetics); Professor and Head, Department of Plant Breeding; Dean, College of Agriculture; Director of Research and Director of Extension Education; and as Vice-Chancellor (1990-93). He has been the Chairman of fourty five Akal Academies in Punjab, Haryana, HP, UP and Rajasthan, run by different Trusts and Societies. He was selected as Professor of Eminence at National Level by ICAR in 1980.
Academic and Research Achievements: Gill developed improved cultivars of linseed and sesame. He initiated and strengthened teaching and research programmes in Genetics at Hisar and Ludhiana campuses of PAU. He led the Department of Plant Breeding of the University to raise its status to international level. As the team leader of Wheat Improvement Programme, Dr Gill did remarkable work on the development and identification of improved cultivars of wheat, which revolutionized wheat production in Punjab and several other parts of India and Pakistan. His work on genetic improvement of pearl millet, barley and triticale as well as basic research in plant genetics is also highly commendable. He has published 475 research and extension articles, authored/edited several books, and mentored a large number of students including seventeen PhD and eight MSc students.
Other Contributions: Professor Gill founded the Crop Improvement Society of India and remained its President (1974-79) and Patron till date. He was Adviser, Wheat and Triticale Research at the Global Level, having been on the Board of Trustees and Programme Committee of the CIMMYT, Mexico (1988-93) and Senior Vice-President of International Triticale Association (1988-94). He evaluated the UNDP global project on sorghum and millets at the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics, Hyderabad (1981) and on rice at International Rice Research Institute, Philippines (1983). Dr Gill made Advanced Study Visits to 23 overseas countries. Through the Akal Academies, he has started a value-based quality education in rural areas of Northern India. Gill served the Council of INSA during 1983-85.
Awards and Honours: Dr Gill is the recipient of Rafi Ahmad Kidwai Memorial Prize (1976), Team Research Award by ICAR (1981), FICCI Award (1985), Appreciation Awards by the United States Department of Agriculture, Washington (1981, 1987 and 1991), Medals for Wheat Research and as a Trustee of the Board by the Mexican Government, CIMMYT, Mexico (1973 and 1993), Golden Jubilee Awards by ICAR (1991), Padma Bhushan by the Government of India (1992) and Silver Jubilee Award by the Indian Society of Oilseed Research (1993). He is also a Fellow of Indian Society of Agricultural Sciences, Indian Society of Genetics & Plant Breeding, Genetic Association of India, Crop Improvement Society of India and the Academy of Sciences for the Developing World (TWAS) (1991).