You are here: Home - Articles

A New Paddy Variety for Saline Lands

Surjeet Singh, Noushad Parvez, Dushyant, Swati Parihar, Satya Singh, Hardev Choudhary

National Innovation Foundation, India.


Cultivation of paddy is the most challenging task for farmers of coastal wetland and in-land saline areas. Salinity hampers the production of crops cultivated in such areas due to its poor soil properties and salt toxicity. The only solution for the farmers of saline area is to grow salt tolerant varieties. The salt tolerant attributes in paddy can be attained by selection and/or breeding by researchers or farmers. Farmers of salt affected areas cultivate released and traditional saline tolerant paddy cultivars. The farmer’s salt tolerant paddy variety Surjeet Basmati-1 proved its popularity among farmers in salt affected locations of Haryana with higher yield in their fields. NIF-India has supported Shri Surjeet Singh for the promotion and scientific evaluation of the variety and during its validation in Central Soil Salinity Research Institute (CSSRI), Karnal, Haryana and famers’ field trials in West Bengal, Gujarat and Maharashtra. These trials confirmed that Surjeet Basmati-1 is a potential variety with good tolerance and high yield as compared to other traditional and released salt tolerant varieties under variable salt stress conditions of the country.


In agriculture the major loss in production accounts mainly due to biotic/abiotic stresses, these stresses hinder the cropping system affecting crop production. Salinity is one of the most critical constraints which obstruct production in many areas around the world (Hasegawa et al., 2000). The value of electrical conductivity measures more than 4 dS/m (at 25°C) in saturated soil extracts of saline soil. The productivity of crops get severely affected due to deprived soil conditions like lower organic matter and variable salinity (Gao et al., 2008). Distribution of saline and sodic soil is 397 and 434 million hectares respectively, which is about 3.1 % saline soil and 3.4% sodic soil of total areas of the world (FAO, 2008). Salinity in soil is a variable parameter which fluctuates with season, location and environment; moreover saline affected areas are increasing annually approximately at the rate of 10% due to inappropriate cultural practices, irrigation with saline water and environmental factors viz. surface evaporation, weathering and low precipitation. It has been reported that if similar trend continues, by the year 2050 salanized arable land would be reaching above 50% (Jamil et al., 2011). In India, available salt affected soil in the form of sodic and saline is 6.73 million hectares. Coastal salinity area of 8185 kilometres is situated in western and eastern coasts. Gujarat has the maximum saline area with saline soil 1.68 million hectares and sodic soil 0.54 million hectares. In West Bengal saline soil covers 0.44 million hectares, whereas in Haryana and Maharashtra distribution of saline and sodic soil is 0.05 & 0.18 million hectares and 0.18 & 0.42 million hectares respectively (Sharma, 2014).

In Indian saline areas, the crops grown are mainly paddy, barley, sugar beet, cotton, mustard, maize, red gram, green gram, sunflower, linseed, sesame, bajra, sorghum, pumpkin, bitter guard, beetroot, guava, asparagus, spinach, coconut, grape, date palm and pomegranate. Paddy (Oryza sativa L.) is predominantly cultivated in coastal saline and in-land saline areas because of availability of sufficient water, suitable physicochemical conditions, cyclic salt accumulation and intermittent floods. In-spite of lower yield of locally popular varieties in saline areas, monoculture of paddy is predominant due to its inherent genetic attribute for salinity tolerance (Bhambure et al., 2016). Apart from salinity problem, coastal wetland and in-land saline paddy growers face distinct biotic and abiotic threats as compared to paddy cultivating areas having normal soil. In saline areas, seasonal variation of soil salinity is reported as a major constraint in cropping system. In addition, these farmers face the problem of high seed rate, availability of poor water, insects and pests, and low productivity (Ogle and John, 2010). To overcome such


                                                               Paddy cultivation in saline soil

problems research institutions and universities are working and releasing new tolerant/resistant paddy varieties. On the other hand, farmers cultivate traditional/developed varieties, and successive selections of seeds from such varieties have led to the development of new varieties (Gupta, 1995) with improved performance and location specific adaptability, as compared to popular varieties available in that region (Choudhary et al., 2016; Chodvadiya et al., 2016). 

Farmer’s paddy variety for saline areas: Surjeet Basmati-1

Shri Surjeet Singh (64) is an innovative farmer and well known for his high quality aromatic basmati paddy variety. He has been practicing agriculture for over four decades now and owns about eighteen acres of land with good irrigation facilities. Shri Surjeet wanted to complete his graduation in arts but got attracted to agriculture and discontinued his college studies. His wife and two sons have been supporting him in agriculture. The family owns modern agricultural tools and machineries and also have a cattle herd. Behind his home, he has leased a pond for pisciculture. With the help of government subsidy, he has also installed a bio gas plant, which produces enough gas for their daily cooking requirements.



The developed high yielding salt tolerant paddy cultivar was named after him as Surjeet Basmati-1 (SB-1). The unique features of the variety are high yield (24 Q/Ac) with recovery percentage of 67 % and tolerance to salinity (NIF database, 2015). Its grain size is longer (11.16 mm). In grain quality study, SB-1 variety was found better for grain width (1.91 mm) and lower grain broken (20 %). It is also tolerant to foot-rot and sheath blight diseases. This variety is suitable for various soil types and does not require any specific soil type for its growth. The seeds of the variety are soaked in water for 24 hours, spread over a cemented platform and then covered with jute bags. Water is sprinkled at regular intervals of time. As soon as the seeds sprout,

they can be taken for growing in nursery beds. The optimum temperature range is between 35–40 degrees for sowing and the harvesting period is October - November. Another important characteristic of this variety is that it does not lodge at maturity as compared to other varieties where losses upto 25% are reported and it remains green throughout growing period. It requires lesser water and fertilizers as compared to other  




Shri Surjeet developed SB-1 through the mass selection method. He has been growing wheat, paddy, pea, mustard, potato, gram, chilli and tomato in his field. In 2008, he planted paddy variety Pusa-1460, but due to sheath blight disease, all the plants got severely affected, except one. He harvested the plant separately, and prepared a nursery in 2009, which was then transplanted in the main field. During harvesting, he selected 225 plants based on the number of tillers, lengthy spikes and tolerant to foot-rot disease (Bakanae rog), a major disease of basmati rice. The selection continued for another two years and the desirable characteristics slowly got stabled. The variety was named as Surjeet Basmati-1. He distributed the variety to ten farmers in Karnal district who appreciated it and mentioned that it performed well under saline and less fertile soil conditions.

For SB-1 variety Shri Surjeet has received various rewards and recognitions, he received national grassroots innovation award from NIF-India in the year 2015. He received Innovative Farmer Award from Directorate of Wheat Research, Karnal in 2012. Innovative variety of Shri Surjeet Singh has also been listed in Limca Book of records and he has also received certificate of honour from Haryana Agricultural University, Hisar and KVK, Bhiwani, Haryana. In March 2016, he received Best Farmer Award from Agriculture Department, Karnal, Haryana. The application for registration of the variety has been filed at the PPV&FR Authority (Acknowledgment number: REG/2012/386), Delhi. For the innovative variety Shri Surjeet Singh has been selected for Innovation Scholars In-Residence Program (Fourth Batch) to be held from 4-18th March, 2017 in Rashtrapati Bhawan, New Delhi.

Ecological and climatic adaptability of Surjeet Basmati-1

As compared to other popular basmati paddy varieties viz. CSR-30, Pusa-1460 and Pusa-1121 which are transplanted between 10th - 15th June, SB-1 can be transplanted till 10th of July, this additional time of a month reduces the tremendous amount of water and energy. This is very valuable during delayed monsoon. During validation and farmers’ field study it was found that SB-1 performed well in variable saline as well as normal soil conditions.




Institutional support and research trials by National Innovation Foundation (NIF),  India

NIF-India started working on validation, value addition and dissemination of Surjeet Basmati-1 after receiving its entry in 2012 for the 8th National Biennial Competition under the category of new plant variety developed by grassroots innovator. NIF-India facilitated validation of SB-1 variety in Central Soil Salinity Research Institute (CSSRI), Karnal, Haryana during 2013-14 and 2014-15. In the validation study, SB-1 performed better than Pusa Basmati-1121 in normal and salt stress conditions. The percentage yield reduction in case of SB-1 under moderate sodic and high saline stress conditions were only 30.92 and 57.76 % respectively.

The innovator received the national award with a cash reward of Rs. 3 lakhs during NIF’s Eighth National Biennial Award Function, 2015 at Rashtrapati Bhavan, New Delhi.

During the field survey conducted in the saline area of Haryana by NIF-India in 2015-16, it was found that the average yield of SB-1 was 32.73 Q/Ac which was significantly higher (96%) than the other local popular varieties. During the survey in Madhya Pradesh under normal soil condition it was reported that the yield of SB-1 variety was superior to that of other local varieties. In addition to this, multi-location research trial was conducted to study the performance and dissemination of SB-1 variety in normal soil locations of Bihar during 2014-2015, and in saline locations of West Bengal, Gujarat and Maharashtra during 2016-2017. In Bihar, SB-1 variety performed well with average yield in the range of 15 to 20 Q/Ac. During the trial in saline locations, it was found that SB-1 performed well in moderate sodic and high saline conditions in all tested locations. 

For the dissemination and commercialization of SB-1, NIF-India has provided financial support of Rs. 15 Lakhs under its Micro Venture Innovation Fund (MVIF) and Rs. 7.5 lakhs has been released in 2016. By analysing the performance and demands for SB-1 paddy variety among paddy growers, the initial business plan was projected with an estimate of 800 quintal seeds per season by Business Development Department of NIF-India.


Soil salinity which generally varies with seasons is increasing gradually in parts of India. The farmers of saline locations are usually dependent on traditional and released paddy cultivars. But the yield and productivity of paddy is suppressing under variable saline soil conditions.category of farmer’s saline tolerant paddy variety and has been successfully validated in different soil conditions. With the support of National Innovation Foundation – India, Surjeet Basmati-1 was successfully disseminated among the farmers of Bihar, West Bengal, Gujarat and Maharashtra.

This case study confirms that with institutional support, innovations from grassroots can be successfully disseminated as a feasible solution of challenges faced by farmer viz. saline soil. Financial support provided by National Innovation Foundation – India can be useful to scale-up the business of grassroots technology and create measurable impact on the status of innovator.


The authors thank all the farmers involved in this study. We are grateful to grassroots innovator Shri Surjeet Singh, Haryana for providing innovative paddy variety Surjeet Basmati-1 for the study. Authors are also thankful to Central Soil Salinity Research Institute (CSSRI), Karnal, Haryana for conducting validation trials of farmer’s variety.

The authors also express sincere gratitude to Dr. Vipin Kumar, Director, National Innovation Foundation– India, Autonomous Body of Department of Science & Technology, Govt. of India, for his valuable inputs and institutional support.  


  1. Bhambure, A. and Kerkar, S. (2016). Traditionally cultivated rice varieties in coastal saline soils of India. Department of Biotechnology, Goa University, Taleigao Plateau, Goa-403206, India
  2. Chodvadiya, M. B., Singh, S., Choudhary, H., Parvez, N., Ravikumar R. K. and Khobragade, D. R. (2016). On-farm trials of farmer’s variety: tool for performance evaluation and adoption of variety in new areas. Int. J. Adv. Res. 4(11), 1703-1712.
  3. Choudhary, H., Singh, S., Parvez, N., Rathore, R., Raghuvanshi, P. (2016). Performance of farmers pigeon pea [Cajanus cajan L. millsp.] varieties: opportunities for sustained productivity and dissemination of varieties. International Journal of Agriculture Sciences, 61(8): 3471-3474
  4. FAO. (2008). Land and plant nutrition management service. htpp://
  5. Gao, S., Ouyang, C., Wang, S., Xu, Y., Tang, L. and Chen, F. (2008). Effects of salt stress on growth, antioxidant enzyme and phenylalanine ammonia-lyase activities in Jatropha curcas L. seedlings. Plant, Soil and Environment. 54: 374–381
  6. Gupta, A. K. (1995). Crops, Creativity and Compensation: Honey Bee network approach.
  7. Hasegawa, P. M., Bressan R. A., Zhu, J. K. and Bohnert, H. J. (2000). Plant cellular and molecular responses to high salinity. Ann. Rev. Plant Physiol. Plant Mol. Biol., 51: 463-499
  8. Jamil A., Riaz S., Ashraf M., Foolad M. R. (2011). Gene expression profiling of plants under salt stress. Crit. Rev. Plant Sci.; 30(5):435–458.
  9. NIF. (2015).
  10. Ogle, D. and John, L. St. (2010). Plants for saline to sodic soil conditions, Technical note USDA-natural resources conservation service. TN plant materials no. 9 A.
  11. Sharma, D. (2014). Sustainable technologies for crop production under salt-affected soil in India. Central Soil salinity research Institure, Karnal, India.21.


Rate this article


Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published, all the fields are required.