Introduction of semi-dwarfism and early maturity in rice cultivars is important to achieve improved plant architecture, lodging resistance and high yield. Gamma rays induced mutations are routinely used to achieve these traits. We report the development of a semi-dwarf, early maturing and high-yielding mutant of rice cultivar 'Improved White Ponni', a popular cosmopolitan variety in south India preferred for its superior grain quality traits. Through gamma rays induced mutagenesis, several mutants were developed and subjected to selection up to six generations (M.sub.6) until the superior mutants were stabilized. In the M.sub.6 generation, significant reduction in days to flowering (up to 11.81% reduction) and plant height (up to 40% reduction) combined with an increase in single plant yield (up to 45.73% increase) was observed in the mutant population. The cooking quality traits viz., linear elongation ratio, breadthwise expansion ratio, gel consistency and gelatinization temperature of the mutants were similar to the parent variety Improved White Ponni. The genetic characterization with SSR markers showed variability between the semi-dwarf-early mutants and the Improved White Ponni. Gibberellin responsiveness study and quantitative real-time PCR showed a faulty gibberellin pathway and epistatic control between the genes such as OsKOL4 and OsBRD2 causing semi-dwarfism in a mutant. These mutants have potential as new rice varieties and can be used as new sources of semi-dwarfism and earliness for improving high grain quality rice varieties.