Dr. S. Nagarajan (Subrahmaniam Nagarajan) was born on 7 November 1945. Educated at the PS High School, Mylapore, Chennai and Graduated in Agriculture from Agricultural College, Coimbatore: 1962-66; M.Sc., IARI, 1969; Ph.D., University of Delhi, 1973; Pre-Doctoral Fellow, Department of Plant Pathology, Wageningen, Netherlands 1971; Alexander von Humboldt Fellow, University of Giessen, 1978-80; Re-visited 1986; Visiting Fellow, Department of Pathology, University of Bonn, 1998 and Distinguished Fellow, University of Giessen, 2003 and 2011.
He joined as Principal Scientist and Head, IARI Regional Station, Flowerdale, Shimla, 1980-86; Asstt. Director General (Plant Protection), ICAR, 1988; Project Director, Directorate of Wheat Research, Karnal, 1993-2002; Director, Indian Agricultural Research Institute, New Delhi, 2002-05; Chairperson, Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers’ Rights Authority, Department of Agriculture & Cooperation, Ministry of Agriculture, Govt. of India, New Delhi, 2005-10. He joined the IARI / ICAR in 1974 as wheat pathologist and continued his research interest on the epidemiology of the cereal rusts. On the basis of a series of epidemiological investigations he propounded the stem rust rules and using climatic data explained the nature and recurrence of Puccinia graminis tritici and P recondita tritici. These rules suggest that the urediniospores originating from the Nilgiris spread to Central India under the influence of tropical cyclone that occurs in the Bay of Bengal during November. Based on this a disease management strategy was formulated and implemented to contain crop losses. On a similar basis he and his team explained the nature and recurrence of the leaf rust (P. recondita tritici) and the stripe rust (P. striiformis) over the Indo gangetic plain. He proposed “Gene Deployment” as a strategy and developed gene matching technique to postulate the resistance genes in the variety before its official release.
As ADG (PP) ICAR and as Acting DDG (CS) he was involved with several of the AICIPs and variety identification process for number of crops. As Member of the Central Pesticide Registration Committee, Central Variety Identification Committee, Chairman MEC, Co-Chair RCGM, member GEAC, Chairman Agriculture Biotechnology, DBT, Chairman of ICMR committee on Agriculture and Nutrition, Advisor, MSSRF and chaired several special committees constituted by the Government departments. He was a member of Board of management of TNAU and Rajasthan AU, NDRI and IVRI; and the GB and SFC of ICAR.
During his period as Director of the wheat program, he developed new tillage options as zero tillage, raised bed system of planting and popularized them. Dr. Nagarajan, former Chairperson of the PPV&FRA, Government of India, held the rank of Secretary to the Government and is one of India’s foremost agriculture scientists.
Dr. S. Nagarajan was awarded the Rafi Ahmed Kidwai Award of the ICAR (1978-79), Conferred the “Award of Distinction” at the International Plant Protection Congress, The Hague (1995), M.O.P. Iyengar Lecture Award of the University of Madras (2000), Om Prakash Bashin Award (2001), Chaudhri Ram Dhan Singh Award for contribution to wheat improvement (2002) by HAU, Hissar, Dr. K.S. Bilgrami Award of INSA (2004), Dr. Norman Borlaug Award of the Coromandel Fertilizers (2005), Dr. A.S. Cheema Award of the Young Farmer’s Association of Punjab (2005), and received from the Prime Minister of India the “Dr. B.P. Pal Gold Medal” in the 93rd Indian Science Congress for contribution to Science and Technology – wheat pathology and wheat improvement (2006). He received the Silver Jubilee Medal of INSA for contribution to Agriculture and Allied Sciences (2006) for his contributions to science and agriculture, the third Dr. M.S. Swaminathan Award and Gold Medal in 2010 and was conferred the lifetime achievement award by Indian Society of Mycology and Plant Pathology in 2012.
Dr. Nagarajan is Fellow of the Indian National Science Academy (2005), National Academy of Agricultural Sciences (1992), National Academy of Sciences, Allahabad (2002), and Alexander von Humboldt Foundation (1978) Germany. As Distinguished Fellow, he was with Prof Kogel, JLU, Giessen, Germany and submitted a report on Ug99 to INSA. He is author of 140 research papers, 50 book chapters and two textbooks and had visited several countries.