Director - Crop & Research
All India Rice Exporters Association
81/2, Adchini, Sri Aurobindo Marg,
New Delhi – 110017
Born in 1945, Dr. Vijaypal Singh received his M.Sc.(Ag) in Agricultural Botany in 1966 and Ph.D. in Agricultural Botany in 1977 from Agra University, Agra. Dr. Singh joined as a Research Assistant in the Division of Genetics, IARI, New Delhi in 1968. He retired as Principal Scientist and Program Leader Rice Project in January 2007. After retirement Dr. Singh is continuing to contribute to IARI Rice Breeding program. He is also actively guiding farmers, rice millers and exporters as a faculty of Basmati Export Development Foundation (BEDF).
Dr. Singh has performed innovative and commendable work which has led to an increased understanding of the genetics of quality characteristics of rice, in general and Basmati rice, in particular.
Dr. Singh was also instrumental in the establishment of the BEDF and the most modern referral lab for Basmati quality at Modipuram. In order to pursue his vision to put India on the world map for Basmati quality, Dr Singh, not only did application oriented basic research to develop rice varieties, but also instituted the system of producing and bringing quality rice to market. Dr Singh achieved his ultimate vision by combining research, seed production methods, with real-live experiences and input from farmers, rice millers and exporters.
The contributions of Dr. V.P. Singh to Basmati rice breeding are par excellence. The major challenge in development of Basmati varieties has been combining Basmati aroma, grain length, linear cooked kernel elongation, fluffiness, and eating quality characteristics in a dwarf non-lodging, high yielding plant type. He developed Pusa Basmati 1 (1989), Pusa Basmati 1121 (2003), Improved Pusa Basmati 1 (2007), Pusa Basmati 6 (2008) and Pusa Basmati 1509(2013).
The best traditional Basmati has milled rice kernel length of 7.3 mm and elongates up to 14 mm after cooking. Pusa Basmati-1 has milled rice kernel length of 7.6 mm and elongates up to 16.5 mm after cooking. Pusa Basmati 1121 has milled rice kernel length of 8.33 mm and elongates up to 20.5 mm after cooking.
Dr. Singh’s recent additions to the series are Improved Pusa Basmati 1 and Pusa Basmati-6. Improved Pusa Basmati 1 has increased resistance to bacterial blight (BB) disease. This has been achieved by incorporating two BB resistant genes through conventional plant breeding. The verification for the presence of the BB resistant genes was accomplished by molecular techniques. Improved Pusa Basmati-1 has the distinction of being the first high-yielding BB resistant Basmati rice variety in the world. Pusa Basmati-6 is not only short statured & high-yielding but it is more aromatic, and has increased elongation, thinner cooked rice, and fluffiness.
Entrepreneurs were motivated to establish more modern rice mills due to the savings realized by reduced aging period and the phenomenal acceptance of these Basmati varieties nationally and internationally. This created employment opportunities for a large number of skilled and unskilled workers. It also provided a stable and sustainable market for the produce, which is a substantial benefit for the farmers. This is a perfect example of how scientific research has touched and transformed the lives of millions of people in India, who were otherwise bordering on the poverty line.
In order to establish the pipeline process for continuous availability of quality rice to consumers and quality seeds to farmers, Dr. Singh envisioned and implemented the maintenance breeding program of IARI rice varieties in collaboration with IARI Regional Station, Karnal.
While Dr. Singh was instrumental in bringing around Basmati revolution, he also contributed to non-aromatic rice development. One of the notable non-aromatic rice variety is Pusa-44 (1993). Pusa-44 brought productivity revolution with a yield of 8-10 tonnes/hectare. Pusa-44 has occupied an average of 0.6 million hectare out of 2.6 million hectare area in Punjab, contributing nearly 5 million tonnes of paddy worth Rs. 5000 crores, annually. This has contributed a major share of supply to PDS (Public Distribution System) from Punjab and also to non-Basmati export in the Permal group.
Awards/ Honors/ Membership/ Fellowship
Recipient of Hari Om Ashram Trust Award (1974-75), Jawahar Lal Nehru Award (1977), B.P. Pal Memorial Award (2005), ICAR Team Award for Crop Improvement (2007), Dr. B. Vishwanath Memorial Award (2009).
Guided four M. Sc. and 7 Ph.D. students. Published 30 research papers in several reputed national and international journals, written 7 book chapters on genetics and breeding of rice, enhanced germ plasam and seed production.
Member of experts committee of the Export Inspection Agency and APEDA (Ministry of Commerce, GOI) 1992-2007.
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