Dr. Ramalakshmi Datta

  • 2023
  • Jamnalal Bajaj Award for Application of Science and Technology for Rural Development

Born: September 12, 1964

Dr. Ramalakshmi Datta, a committed scientist, community mobiliser and a self-motivator, has taken the application research in biotechnology to the Sundarbans for rural development. She strives to demystify the intricacies of biotechnology, particularly tissue culture, with the participation and involvement of the village girls and women.

Dr. Datta’s work involves assessing, designing and developing multi-skill biotechnology programmes; and providing service and creating a knowledge base in the village through village-based human resources. Her contribution to banana and elephant yam tissue culture has evolved as a grassroot biotechnology. Her `reaching the unreached’ programme work has benefitted around 17,000 people across 273 villages in 19 districts of West Bengal, Bihar, Odisha and Jharkhand.

It is rare to find scientists who innovate in lab conditions and follow it up on the land with social group mobilisation. This is a perfect example and initiative of the lab to land a research programme. Her work is remarkable from the perspective of making scientific research accessible and beneficial to small farmers. She has trained and employed rural scientists to good effect. Dr. Datta and the team have also given the tools of research to the farmers.