Excel India Desk
Dr RC Agrawal, Deputy Director General, Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR), told the Vice Chancellors (VCs) of agricultural universities in the country to expand and explore new opportunities. He was speaking at the 3 day conference of VCs on the second day at Kanha Shantivanam, Hyderabad on October 1, Saturday.
Around 46 agricultural universities are participating in this conference. The restructured curricula in accordance with the National Education Policy is ready for Agricultural Universities focusing on skill development frame work, said Dr RC Agrawal, The conference started on September 30 and will conclude on October 2.
A mandatory foundation course of three weeks duration on Yoga and Meditation is framed in new syllabus in addition to the provision of multiple entry and exit in degree programs and more focus will be on skill development on the student part in the New Education Policy, said Dr Agarwal, while the discussions are happening.
B.Sc (Hons.) Natural Farming
In the sixth deans committee, in the context of Indian farming, B.Sc (Hons.) Natural farming course is planned to be introduced now in the universities for practice of production and research in natural farming. To encourage natural farming in a greater way, the fellowship provision to the students, entrepreneurship development in connection with the natural farming.
All the three Central Agricultural Universities are instructed to start Colleges of Natural Farming for the benefit of students. To train more manpower and farmers on natural farming, KVKs are entrusted with this job. Also, major crops will be tested for natural farming at multi locations. NITI Aayog also prepared a action plan on natural farming, told Dr.RC Agrawal.
Revenue generation models
Dr. Agarwal asked the Vice Chancellor’s of Agricultural Universities to aim at 30% internal revenue generation to begin with and reach financial self sustaining in near future. Several revenue generation models were discussed in details such as hydroponics, aeroponics, breeder seed production, selling of parental lines or varieties ; development and selling of agri machinery.
Selling of medical and aromatic plants; selling poultry birds, animal breeds, biopesticides, biofungicides; making veemicompost etc. Ethanol production, replacement of soyameal which is costly with sericulture pupae and natural colours, millets, diary, mushrooms, dehydrated products and traditional rice varieties are some more areas available for revenue generation.
Universities are open now to take up consultancies, offer certificate, diploma courses, agri tourism, branding of products, felicitation centres to export of produce, act as innovation centres, certification and accreditation bodies for agri- products etc, said the deputy director general of ICAR. The meeting took up issues faced by agricultural universities.
Dr. B.Neeraja Prabhakar, Vice Chancellor of Sri Konda Laxman Telangana State Horticultural University and Dr.P.S Pandey, VC, RPCAU, Dr.Rajendraprasad, former, VC are in the meeting. An MoU was signed between Heartfulness Education Trust, Heartful campus, Hyderabad and ICAR, New Delhi, where all the SAUs under ICAR umbrella are in MoU for the benefit of students and research.