ICRISAT clinched the ‘UNDP Mahatma Award for Biodiversity’ for its remarkable contributions to humanity, its unwavering commitment to positive change and its transformative impact on society.

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The award-winning submission highlighted community-led innovations in landscape management in Central India’s Bundelkhand region. Through a combination of rainwater harvesting structures and agroforestry measures, biodiversity in the seven Bundelkhand sites, covering approximately 40,000 hectares, experienced a significant revival.

Mugdha Arora, the Award Director, commended the institute for making it through the rigorous evaluation process and demanding jury rounds of the Mahatma Award selection. She congratulated ICRISAT in a letter that hailed the institute’s extraordinary accomplishments.

“Your dedication to social good has set a shining example for others to emulate. Your selection for the Mahatma Award 2023 is not just a recognition of your past accomplishments but also a celebration of your vision for a greener, bio-diversified, equitable and sustainable world. Your commitment to making positive change has touched the lives of many and serves as an inspiration for all of us,” stated Mugdha Arora.

“The UNDP congratulates ICRISAT on receiving the Mahatma Award. Biodiversity especially in the agricultural realm is something we value ICRISAT’s expertise in, and we look forward to a longer-term partnership with ICRISAT in this area” stated Suneel Padale, UNDP Senior Program Officer, Biodiversity Finance and Sustainable Land Management.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi watching a presentation on ICIRISAT work in Bundelkhand
Image: Prime Minister of India Mr. Narendra Modi, flanked by the Governor of Telangana, Dr. Tamilisai Soundararajan and Dr. Sreenath Dixit, watching a presentation on ICRISAT work in Bundelkhand, India

The Mahatma Award 2023 was formally conferred upon ICRISAT at a ceremony scheduled for September 30, 2023. The event will be held at the India International Centre, Lodhi Road, New Delhi. As part of this honour, ICRISAT will receive a certificate and a specially crafted bust of Mahatma Gandhi, designed and produced by the Aditya Birla Eternal Gandhi Initiative.

About the Award:

The Mahatma Award was founded and instituted by Philanthropist, Mr. Amit Sachdeva, also known as ‘The CSR Man of India’. The annual award is supported by the Aditya Birla Group and the United Nations Development Programme.

Since its inception in 2016, the Mahatma Award has honored more than 500 change-making organizations and impact leaders across various categories and sectors.


An editor by day & dreamer at night; passionately involved with both print and digital media; Pet lover; Solo traveller.

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