Progress in Agri-technology Crucial for Overall Economic Development – Radha Mohan Singh

Radha Mohan Singh
Radha Mohan Singh

Union Minister of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, Shri Radha Mohan Singh laid the Foundation Stone of Acharya N.G.Ranga Agricultural University in Andhra Pradesh. Shri Singh on the occasion said that “there are still large productivity gaps in the potential and the realized farm output and with development and infusion of new technologies our farm production will go up to meet the rising domestic food demand”.

Full text of Union Minister of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare speech:

“Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh, Shri Chandrababu Naidu garu, my cabinet colleagues, Union Minister for Urban Development, Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation and Parliamentary Affairs, Shri Venkaiah Naidu garu, Union Minister for Civil Aviation, Shri Ashok Gajapathi Raju garu, Minister of State for Commerce and Industry, Finance and Corporate Affairs, Smt Nirmala Sitharaman ji, Minister for State for Science & Technology, Earth Science, Shri Y.S. Chowdary garu, MLA of Tadikonda and President of the function Shri T. Sravana Kumar garu, Secretary, DARE & Director General, Dr S. Ayyappan, Vice Chancellor Dr A. Padma Raju, other dignitaries, members of press and media, farmers, students, ladies and gentlemen.

Agriculture continues to remain a major sector of the Indian economy. It contributes to 60 per cent of employment and continues to be the primary source of living for 70 per cent of the population. Technological progress in agriculture is, therefore, crucial for the overall economic development of the country.

The agricultural technologies generated by our research institutions and the Agricultural Universities have enabled us to achieve self reliant food security at national level and today we are among the leading producers of several food items. In recent years, our food grain production has exceeded 260 million tonnes, horticultural production is about 280 million tonnes, milk is 137 million tonnes, eggs-73 billions and fish over 9.8 million tonnes.

The growth and development of agriculture in our country is considerably driven by our institutions of higher agricultural education and research. India has one of the largest agricultural education and research systems in the world with the largest number of scientific personnel of any developing country except China. The research system includes approximately 30,000 scientists and more than one lakh supporting staff actively engaged in teaching and research related to agriculture. The National Agricultural Research and Education System (NARES) comprises essentially two main streams, the ICAR at the national level and the Agricultural Universities at the State level. Today we have 73 agricultural universities and 101 ICAR research institutions serving the farming community.

In Andhra Pradesh, ICAR has established two institutions namely Indian Institute of Oil Palm Research, Peda Vegi, in West Godavari District and Central Tobacco Research Institute, Rajahmundry. ICAR has also established four Regional Centres of Fisheries Institutes: CIFE Centre at Kakinada, CIFA Centre in Vijayawada, Centres of CIFT and CMFRI in Visakhapatnam and 12 Krishi Vigyan Kendras (KVKs).

  • Acharya N.G. Ranga Agricultural University (ANGRAU) has been serving the farming community of Andhra Pradesh for bringing overall improvement in agriculture and allied sectors by providing the required services in Education, Research and Extension.
  • As rice is the major food crop and staple food of the State, Andhra Pradesh is also known as Rice Bowl of India. The agriculture contributes about one-fourth of the State’s GDP.

The ANGRAU University has released 394 improved varieties of field and horticultural crops and the University is known for its notable research on rice.  It is important to mention that today about 1/4th of the Indian total rice area is occupied by this University’s rice varieties.  BPT 5204, even after 28 years of its release (1986) is still ruling variety occupying nearly 10% of the Indian total rice area. Rice varieties like Swarna, MTU-1010, Mtu-1001 and BPT-5204 released by the university are popular not only in Andhra Pradesh, but also in 14 other states of India and in 4 other countries.

The University has several firsts in the country to its credit in the improvement of field crops, commercial crops, pulses and oil seeds.

  • The Godavari and Krishna are the two important rivers flowing through the state providing irrigation. Andhra Pradesh was among the very few states in the country which went in for the Green Revolution in rice cultivation in the 1970s.
  • The Agricultural University of Andhra Pradesh has given birth to six new Universities namely Acharya N.G.Ranga Agricultural University (ANGRAU), Sri Venkateswara Veterinary University (SVVU) and YSR Horticultural University (YSRHU) in the residuary Andhra Pradesh State and Professor Jayashankar Telangana State Agricultural University (PJTSAU), Sri P.V. Narasihma Rao Telangana State University of Veterinary, Animal Husbandry and Fisheries Sciences (SPVNRTSUVAFS) and Konda Lakshman Telangana State Horticultural University (KLTSHU) in Telangana State.

ICAR provides regularly financial and professional support (Development Grants) to Agricultural Universities for modernization and strengthening of academic facilities, infrastructure and faculty improvement. ICAR offers several fellowships such as National Talent Scholarship (NTS) for UG students, Junior Research Fellowship (JRF) for PG students and Senior Research Fellowship (SRF) for PhD students every year to attract talent into agricultural education and for Human Resource Development, national integration and reducing inbreeding.

ICAR launched Niche Areas of Excellence scheme to augment strategic strength of Agricultural Universities in new and emerging cutting-edge technologies. It also established 434 Experiential Learning modules in all the universities for providing skill oriented hands-on training to the students at undergraduate level. For capacity building of teachers and scientists, ICAR supports to conduct training programmes in advanced and emerging areas.

  • This Agricultural University has introduced an academic innovation “Rural Work Experience Programme” for the first time in the country during the year 1979-80. Based on its success, the programme was recommended by ICAR for adoption by all other Agricultural Universities in the country. This programme provided opportunities for final year students of B.Sc.(Ag.) to gain insight and experience in field operations and problems related to farming and rural life, by staying in villages for one semester.
  • Now, ICAR has launched Students READY programme by integrating this “Rural Work Experience Programme” as a major component. The Students READY programme was recently launched by our Hon’ble Prime Minister on 25 July 2015 and it will be implemented from the next academic year. Under this programme, the Union Government shall provide fellowship of Rs 3000 per month for a period of six months to all the under-graduate students of agricultural science.

Need for new University Headquarters

  • In the undivided State of Andhra Pradesh, Acharya N.G. Ranga Agricultural University (ANGRAU) with Headquarters at Hyderabad was catering the needs of the entire State.
  • During bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh, a suitable provision was made in Section 93 (13th Schedule) of the A.P. Re-organization Act, 2014 to establish Agricultural University in Residuary State of Andhra Pradesh.
  • Accordingly, during the Budget (2014-15) presented in the Lok Sabha on 10th July 2014, Finance Minister proposed to establish Agricultural University in the State of residuary Andhra Pradesh along with one more Agricultural University in Rajasthan and Horticultural Universities in Telangana and Haryana.
  • In this regard, when the letters were sent to all the four Chief Ministers, the Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh was the first one to take appropriate action for establishing State Agricultural University in the Residuary State of Andhra Pradesh at Lam Village in Guntur district by identifying the required land for this purpose.
  • Immediately after getting the response, Rs. 10.00 crores has been released to ANGRAU in the financial year 2014-15. In the current financial year 2015-16, an amount of Rs. 75.00 has already been allocated.
  • In the Andhra Pradesh State, ANGRAU has 5 Agricultural Colleges, 2 Colleges of Agricultural Engineering, 2 Colleges of Food Science and Technology, one College of Home Science, 14 Agricultural Polytechnics, one Seed Technology Polytechnic, 2 Agricultural Engineering Polytechnics, 33 Agricultural Research Stations including 6 Regional Agricultural Research Stations located in six agro-climatic zones.
  • Further, there is a need to establish premier agricultural education and research institutions in Andhra Pradesh as the residuary State is deprived of several academic and research institutions due to bifurcation. In order to ensure equal opportunity for quality agricultural education and research to all students and farmers in the successor state of Andhra Pradesh, the new headquarters of agricultural university at Lam, Guntur need to house advanced post graduate centers, centers of excellence in research, administrative office, central library, central computer center and farmers training centers.

We expect that with establishment of this University at Lam, Guntur, the agricultural growth in the region will receive the much needed impetus and will usher in a new era of robust agriculture and a knowledge empowered prosperous farming community”.

IndianBureaucracy wishes the very best.

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