Interface of Vice-Chancellors of Agricultural Universities & ICAR Directors and Directors’ conference Inaugurated

Strive to be models of all-around excellence creating institutions of global standards: Sharad Pawar

February 23, 2011, New Delhi

Shri Sharad Pawar, Union Minister for Agriculture and Food Processing Industries called upon Vice-Chancellors of Agricultural Universities and Directors of ICAR institutes to strive to be models of all-around excellence creating institutions of global standards. Competitions posed by globalization and opening up of economies, ethical issues of trade related intellectual property rights, genetically modified foods and organisms and enforcement of strict quality regimes need immediate attention while developing technically qualified manpower, he emphasized. Sri Pawar was inaugurating two day Interface of Vice-Chancellors of Agricultural Universities &ICAR Directors and Directors' conference organized by the Indian Council of Agricultural Research here today.

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He further called upon Vice-Chancellors to expeditiously take steps for adoption of the Model Act developed by the ICAR for Agricultural Universities. The future world will be a knowledge society and a global village where focus will shift from geographical to knowledge-resource domination. It will be a world where there are new complex equations. There will be competing demands for agriculture and industry; conflicts between creation of wealth and justice and equity, a pattern of conspicuous consumption that will make sustainability difficult to achieve. Council is contemplating a National Agricultural Education Project for which a committee is already working to suggest reforms and renewal of higher agricultural education in the country, he informed the audience.

Sri Harish Rawat, Union Minister of State for Agriculture and Food Processing Industries complimented ICAR Institutes and Agricultural Universities for their excellent research contributions having direct and positive impact on food and nutritional security of the country. He expressed happiness and satisfaction over record production of about 234 million tons of food grains during the year. Besides, Sri Rawat expressed concerns over challenges faced by higher agricultural education in the country, such as shortage of quality human resources, scarcity of resources and research facilities, inbreeding in faculty positions etc. A new thrust in higher agricultural education is required for enhancing the overall quality, he said. In an era of partnerships, strong and fruitful collaborations should be developed between agricultural universities, ICAR institutes and other stakeholders, he suggested.

Earlier, Dr. S. Ayyappan, Secretary, DARE and Director General, ICAR highlighted the major contributions of ICAR in agricultural research, education and extension during the year. As an impetus to enhance productivity of crops 52 improved varieties of important crops were released for cultivation in different agro-climatic regions. ICAR made successful efforts to help timely supply of quality seeds and planting materials to farmers. A National Initiative on Climate Resilient Agriculture worth Rs 350 crores was launched to address biotic and abiotic stress. A special programme on demonstrations for pulse productivity enhancement has been initiated on a wide scale. Recent efforts towards strengthening of intellectual property rights have resulted in filling of 60 patent applications of which 30 published and 7 granted to ICAR. Dr. Ayyappan briefed various other initiatives taken by the Council to strengthen scientist-farmer interactions and delivery of knowledge at the farmers' doorstep.

Sri Sharad Pawar presented coveted Best Performance Awards to Kerala Agricultural University, Thrissur; Acharaya N G Ranga Agricultural Univresity, Hyderabad; and Govind Ballabh Pant University of Agriculture and Technology, Pantnagar. Best Annual Report Awards for 2009-10 were conferred upon Central Soil & Water Conservation Research & Training Institute, Dehradun and National Bureau of Fish Genetic Resources, Lucknow.

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Dr. Tej Pratap, President, Indian Agricultural Universities Association and Vice-Chancellor Sher-e-Kashmir University of Agricultural Science and Technology; Sri P.K. Basu, Secretary, Department of Agriculture and Cooperation; Sri Rudra Gangadharan, Secretary, Department of Animal Husbandry, Dairying and Fisheries; and Sri Ashok Sinha, Secretary, Food Processing Industries also graced the occasion.

Vice-Chancellors of Agricultural Universities, Directors of ICAR institutes, Deputy Director Generals of ICAR, Zonal Project Directors, Project Coordinators and senior officials of the Council are participating in the Conference.

Sri Rajiv Mehrishi, Additional Secretary, DARE & Secretary, ICAR proposed vote of thanks.

(Source: NAIP Sub-Project on Mass Media Mobilization, DKMA)