The Hyderabad based Senior Scientist Dr. Shaik N.Meera has bagged the prestigious ‘Lal Bahadur Shastri Outstanding Young Scientist Award 2014’ of Indian Council of Agricultural Research, Government of India. The award was presented during the 87th Foundation Day Celebrations and Award Ceremony of ICAR held at Patna. Prime Minister Narendra Modi participated in the ICAR Foundation Day which was followed by the award ceremony.
The award was given by Dr. Sanjeev Balyan, Union Minister of State for Agriculture, and Mohanbhai Kundaria, Union Minister of State for Agriculture.
Dr. Meera is presently working at Indian Institute of Rice Research, Hyderabad. The award is given every year in order to recognize the talented young scientists who have shown extraordinary originality and dedication in their research programmes. With this award he gets an award amount of Rs. 1.00 lakh in cash and a citation and a challenge project for three years with budgetary provision of Rs. 30.00 lakh and Rs 5.00lakh for foreign training.
Dr. Meera has made outstanding contributions in Indian rice sector with innovative extension methods and practical ICT approaches benefiting rice farmers and extension agencies. The Rice Knowledge Management Portal developed by him is acclaimed as one of the finest ICT applications in agriculture by Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). The Rice Portal has made significant impacts across the country by improving the farmers’ access to rice knowledge. He has contributed to the introduction of several new rice varieties/ hybrids/ technologies by coordinating more than 7000 Frontline Demonstrations in last 6 years, benefiting 18318 rice farmers directly. He introduced impact acceleration concepts such as ‘India Rice Check’, ‘Sustainable Livelihoods’, ‘e-learning’ for extension systems’. From extension research to extension service, he struck an effective balance to blend Information and Communication Technologies with traditional extension methods that resulted in improving the livelihoods of thousands of Indian rice farmers. Dr. Meera is currently working on Mobile applications for Indian Rice farmers in several local languages. If this project is successful, Indian farmers can get reliable and time critical information directly from the research stations that may revolutionise rice farming in the country. (NSS)