The 2020 Nobel Peace Prize has been awarded to the World Food Programme (WFP), a United Nations (UN) agency, for its efforts to combat hunger, bettering conditions for peace in conflict-affected areas and preventing the use of hunger as a weapon of war and conflict.
Prof. S.S. Chahal
Panjab University, Chandigarh
Prof. Sarbjit Singh Chahal is a renowned agricultural scientist and had been Vice-Chancellor (Founder) of Khalsa University, Amritsar and Emeritus Fellow of University Grants Commission. He has headed a number of institutions in Punjab and Rajasthan. He has developed ‘National Agricultural Higher Education Project – NAHEP’ a World Bank funded Project worth Rs.1,000 crores, currently in operation through ICAR and formulated Agriculture & Water Policies for Govt. of Rajasthan.
This was the seventh and the last expository lecture in the series of lectures on Nobel Prizes, 2020. The lecture was attended by more than 45 participants on the zoom and about 578 viewed the same on the Facebook page of SPSTI.
The session steered with the introduction by Prof. Keya Dharamvir. The opening remarks were presented by Prof. Arun K. Grover, Former Vice Chancellor of Panjab University and Vice President of SPSTI who spoke about the Nobel Peace Prize 2020 and also World Food Prize 2020. Prof. I. S. Dua introduced the speaker, Prof. S. S. Chahal.
Prof. Chahal lecture was focused on food production, work of the World Food Programme, scenario of food production in India, contribution of Indian scientists in food production and international collaborations for increasing food production and food security and distribution. He talked about the food act and public distribution system and India being ranked 94th among 107 countries surveyed on global hunger index. He highlighted the work of the World Food Program as protecting livelihood security and emergencies, supporting and restoring food security, to reduce disparity and restore food availability in areas of need and enable people to meet their own needs and food nutrition needs in times of emergencies. Similar work has been done by the World Food Program in India during the Bhuj earthquake and many other times. He also talked about the World Food Prize which has been won seven times by Indians for their work including the Dr. Rattan Lal who is awarded the same this year. He also delivered on many national and international collaborations which has resulted in great improvement in researches done to improve agriculture in the country and counter the problems of global hunger. He said the major collaboration among these he sees is Consultation Group on International Agricultural Research which has objectives of food for people, environment for people and policies for people. He concluded his session with the view that we might see the 21st century as an era for gene revolution as we had the green revolution in the 20th century for the better for society as well as for environment.
The session was followed with questions and discussion about global hunger, increasing accessibility of food, sustainability issues, post green revolution problems and the researchers to solve these problems, and also improvement of soil to increase the food production. The concluding remarks were made by Prof. I. S. Dua who reiterated the problem of global hunger and population explosion as one of its major cause. The closing remarks on the expository lectures series on Nobel Prizes 2020 was presented by Shri Dharam Vir, IAS (Retd.) & President SPSTI, who emphasized there should be ways to attract the best minds to the agriculture sector. Prof. Keya Dharamvir presented a vote of thanks to the speaker as well as the audience.