S M Sehgal Foundation receives the Mahatma Award 2021 for social impact—agriculture and livelihood in rural India under the leadership of Dr Suri Sehgal, renowned agricultural scientist, founder and chair of Sehgal Foundation.
The award was presented in a ceremony held at India International Center in New Delhi on October 1, 2021, by chief guest Dr Kiran Bedi, IPS, 24th Lieutenant Governor of Puducherry, along with Award founder Mr Amit Sachdeva and other distinguished guests.
The award was received by Sehgal Foundation’s chief operating officer, Ms Anjali Makhija, and Ms Pooja O. Murada, principal lead, Outreach for Development.
Dr Sehgal’s contributions as a crop scientist, seedsman, global hybrid seed industry expert, and humanitarian have made a positive difference in the lives of millions of people across rural India.
Dr Sehgal approached development with the belief that every person in the more than 640,000 rural communities across India deserves a secure, prosperous, and dignified life. Improving livelihoods and lives of India’s smallholding farm families residing in the most impoverished and precarious conditions became the work’s primary focus, with emphasis on the empowerment of women and girls who have long been disadvantaged.
Sehgal Foundation has five main program areas: Water Management, Agriculture Development, Local Participation and Sustainability, Transform Lives one school at a time, and Outreach for Development. These programs are supported by a skilled research team that engages in participatory research, impact assessment, and interactive dialogues to determine informed actions to achieve sustainable results.
The Agriculture Development program promotes sustainable livelihoods by building the capacities of farmers, including women producers, on improved agricultural practices and new technologies that increase crop yields, conserve water, and improve soil fertility. The team works with small-holder farmers in rain-fed and irrigated areas to facilitate adoption of improved and advanced agricultural practices that include soil health management, crop production management, input-use efficiency, small farm mechanization, water-efficient irrigation techniques, horticultural development, livestock management, and the use of information and communication technology (ICT) in agriculture.
Sehgal Foundation partners in the corporate, government, academic, social sectors, and on the ground in rural communities, are key to the success of its rural development initiatives and consistent growth.
S M Sehgal Foundation was established in 1999 as a public charitable trust to strengthen community-led development initiatives to achieve positive social, economic, and environmental change across rural India. The foundation has entered its third decade in rural India with active presence in more than 1,200 villages across 34 districts in ten states of India, and the work continues to grow.