Dr. S. K. Sharma, Vice-chancellor, CSKHPKV, Palampur welcomed the Chief Guest, all the dignitaries and the participants who had come from various States of the country. He underlined the continuing importance of agricultural research, education and extension for sustaining agricultural production against the odds of reducing profitability, increasing global competition, diminishing soil and water resources and adverse impact of biotic and abiotic stresses. He appreciated the initiative of the Education Division in focusing on important thrust areas including the Niche Area of Excellence programme
Dr.Arvind Kumar, DDG (Edn.) gave a brief overview of the thrust areas piloted by the Education Division in enhancing the quality and capacity building in the agricultural universities. He also traced the genesis and progress of the various centres in terms of quality publications, technology development, innovation, capacity building, resource generation and linkages established. He also highlighted the new initiatives under consideration.
Dr. C. Devakumar, DDG (Education Planning Development), ICAR introduced the concept and scope of the Niche Area of Excellence Programme. He highlighted the accomplishments with case studies. He appreciated some centres for starting websites through which the visibility of the centres is being attained globally, attracting due recognition and collaboration.
Dr. V. L. Chopra, Former Secretary, DARE and DG, ICAR, Former Member (Science), Planning Commission kindly accepted to be the Chief Guest and released the following publications:
- Advanced Diagnostic Techniques for Improved Nutrition of Vegetable and Fruit Crops, by A.K.Sarkar (BAU, Ranchi), and S.C. Kotur, H.B. Raghupathi, G.C. Satisha from IIHR, Bangalore
- ICAR Niche Area of Excellence-Research Publications (2007-2011), compiled by Dr A.K. Sarkar, BAU, Ranchi.
- Project Monitoring and Evaluation report, of ICAR Niche Area of Excellence, 2010-11
- A monograph on Marek’s Disease by Dr A Raja et al, TANUVAS, Chennai
- Organic Farming a Modern Era of Agricultural Revolution by Y S Paul, Rameshwar & J P Saini from CSKHPKV, Palampur
In his speech, Dr. Chopra appreciated the Niche Area of Excellence programme and reiterated the importance of education as the core mandate even for this programme. He enunciated package of knowledge, operating skills, infrastructure and policy environment as the four pillar of education through which one is enlightened with the cultivation of mind and oriented towards the critical needs of the society. He called for synergy between education and research endeavor through which elite minds can engage in coordinated, logical and result- oriented approach for technology generation leading to economical and quality growth. Such elite and enlightened minds must work in a holistic manner for advancement of knowledge and skills aimed at deliverables to the society. Time and resource management issues are more often the limiting steps in the successful progression. Funds per se are essential but only a partial requirement. Niche Area Excellence may inculcate these principals in the pursuit of excellence, through innovations sans routine and mundane work.
Dr. S. P. Sharma, Director of Research, CSKHPKV, Palampur proposed a vote of thanks.
The Inaugural session was followed by four Technical Sessions spread over two days wherein the programme-wise salient achievements made during 2010-11, technical programme for 2011-2012, were presented by PIs. Fourteen experts drawn both from ICAR and SAUs acted as resource persons and offered valuable suggestions in improving the niche areas.
(Source: Education Division)