Rajendra Singh Paroda did his BSc (Agriculture) (1962) from University of Rajasthan, MSc (Agriculture) (1964) from University of Udaipur and PhD (1968) from Indian Agriculture Research Institute (IARI), New Delhi specializing in genetics and plant breeding. He was Commonwealth Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Wales, Aberytswyth, UK (1968-70). He became Director of the National Bureau of Plant Genetic Resources (1985), where he established one of the most modern gene banks in the world. He then became Deputy Director General (Crop Sciences) and later Director General, ICAR and Secretary, DARE, Government of India (1994-2001). The Ohio State University and a large number of State Agricultural universities in India conferred on him DSc (hc).
Academic and Research Achievements: Paroda headed the Forage Breeding Program at the Haryana Agricultural University, which led to the release of over 12 varieties at the national level. His other notable findings related to: establishing model for studying synchrony in cereals; prediction models based on genotype-environment interaction studies in cereals and forages and biometrical studies in cereals to establish the genetic architecture of yield and related attributes in wheat, barley and a number of forage crops. He also published over 250 research papers, besides being editor of more than 20 books.
Other Contributions: Dr Paroda was instrumental in revamping the National Agricultural Research System (NARS) through several policy and organizational reforms. He served as Chairman of the Global Forum on Agricultural Research (GFAR) from 1998 to 2002. He also served as Chairman and Vice-Chairman of the ICRISAT Governing Board and Member of Board of Trustees of IRRI. He also served for more than two decades as Executive Secretary of Asia-Pacific Association of AGricultural Research Institutions (APAARI). Till recently, Dr. Paroda worked for the overall benefit of farmers as Chairman, Farmers Commission of Haryana and Chairman of Working Group on Agriculture and member of Rajasthan Planning Board. Currently, he is Chairman of the Trust for Advancement of Agricultural Sciences (TAAS).
Awards and Honours: Dr Paroda received Padma Bhushan (1998), Rafi Ahmed Kidwai Memorial Prize (1982-83), ICAR Research Team Award (1984), FICCI Award (1988), Om Prakash Bhasin Award (1992), Special Asia Pacific Seed Association Award (1995), Dr BP Pal Memorial Award by NAAS and Dr Borlaug Award. He was elected Fellow of the National Academy of Agricultural Sciences, New Delhi, Indian Academy of Sciences, Bangalore, Russian Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Academy of Sciences for the Developing World (TWAS) and the academies of Agricultural Sciences of Armenia, Georgia and Tajikistan. He was President of National Academy of Agricultural Sciences, New Delhi (1996-2001). He also got elected as Honorary Member of the prestigious Crop Science Society of America (CSSA) and the American Society of Agronomy (ASA). Over a dozen of Indian Scientific societies have elected him as their President. He also served as General President of the Indian Science Congress (2000-01).