Dr Baldev Singh Dhillon, Vice Chancellor of Punjab Agricultural University (PAU), Ludhiana, Punjab, India has been conferred with prestigious civil award ‘Padma Shri’ in 2019 by the Hon. President of India for his contributions to science and society.
Dr Dhillon availed DAAD (German Academic Exchange Service) Fellowship (1976-78) and Alexander von Humboldt Fellowship (1988-89) and worked at University of Hohenheim, Germany. In addition, he also worked at University of Hohenheim during 1990 and 2007-11. His main area of research was hybrid breeding, heterotic pools, bioenergy and biotechnology in maize and other crops.
As a Vice Chancellor of PAU, Dr Dhillon took numerous initiatives that catapulted the university to greater heights. PAU won ‘Sardar Patel Outstanding ICAR Institution’ Award based on research achievements and impact during five years (2012-17). During this period, PAU developed outstanding crop varieties, production-protection technologies and farm machinery. Early maturing, high yielding varieties of paddy having less biomass have helped in water saving and paddy straw management. Dr Dhillon led the Joint Inter-State Campaign in North-western India that successfully managed the white fly in cotton resulting in bumper crop with record productivity during last 3 years.
Dr Dhillon has developed new methods of plant breeding having higher genetic gain per unit time and techniques of quantitative genetic analysis providing more comprehensive information on inheritance of traits. As a maize breeder in India, he developed a number of improved varieties/hybrids including ‘Paras’, the first single cross hybrid in India (1995), and thereby, gave a new direction to maize breeding in the country. His pioneering work on maize cultivation during non-traditional winter/spring season has led to the emergence of spring maize as an important crop in NW India.
He has a strong flair for scientific writings and has published about 400 research and policy papers besides authoring 13 scientific books. Besides many research journals published in India, he has served on the Editorial Board of Theoretical and Applied Genetics (Germany), Maydica (Italy) and Journal of Crop Improvement (USA).
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