Fifth Convocation of SKUAST-Jammu held on 18th April, 2016.
SKUAST-J Convocation held As fifth Convocation of Sher-e-Kashmir University of Agricultural Sciences & Technology of Jammu (SKUAST-J) was held, here today, the Vice-Chairman of the NITI Aayog, Dr Arvind Panagariya, Governor N N Vohra and Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti stressed the need to take agricultural research from the laboratories to the fields for increasing production. Dr Arvind Panagariya, who was chief guest on the occasion, stressed the need for multiplying agriculture production through technological advancements to achieve the overall GDP target of more than eight percent and meet the raising demands for food besides increasing income of those dependent on agriculture to ensure inclusiveness. "Farmers need to be convinced and motivated to adopt well tested technologies with adequate safe guards to boost agricultural productivity especially Pulses and oil seeds production for which country hugely depends on imports for meeting domestic demands," he said. Informing about the NITI Task Force on Agricultural Development for rejuvenating of agriculture to provide relief to the vast population, Dr Panagariya said that the Central Government was working on how to raise agricultural productivity and make farming remunerative. "NITI Aayog's Expert Committee on Land Leasing has proposed a Model Agricultural Land Leasing Act, based on a critical review of the existing agricultural tenancy laws of the states and keeping in view the need to legalize land leasing to promote agriculture efficiency, equitable and rapid rural development," he said and added that under the proposed Act, leasing of land will ensure complete security of land ownership right for land owners and security of tenure for tenants for the agreed lease period. Governor N N Vohra, while highlighting major agriculture production challenges before the State and the country, expressed concern on the growing adverse effects of climate change in the agriculture sector. He exhorted the agriculture scientists to identify relevant initiatives for significantly improving both production and productivity and suggested sharper focus on soil and water management; conservation agriculture and energy use efficiency to reduce the impact of climate change on productivity. The Governor suggested adoption of area specific interventions for increasing production and productivity in J&K and evolving approaches which are suitable for the varied geo-climatic conditions of this State by continuing research and extension interventions. He stressed the need for proactive role by Krishi Vigyan Kendras for taking new technologies and researches to the farmers and the fields. Quoting statistics from the State Government Economic Survey Report (2015-16), the Governor expressed his concern about the State's performance in agriculture and its allied sectors as compared to the national averages and stressed the need to enhance its productivity in the coming years. "J&K has a very high potential for growth in agriculture, horticulture, animal and sheep husbandry, poultry farming, etc, which can push the overall growth rate in the agri-sector," he added and stressed the need for efficient utilization of limited land resources, modernizing agricultural practices, large scale and sustained seed replacement programme, introduction of high yielding varieties, ensuring adequate irrigation facilities, adoption of multi-cropping patterns and scientific interventions at the post harvest stage, establishment of required food processing units and other interventions for increasing agri-productivity. In her address, Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti asked the universities to travel extra mile in navigating technologies from lab to land and stressed that the farmers will have to be taken onboard if agriculture sector has to reclaim its key position in the State's economy. "Even though agriculture and allied sectors continue to remain the mainstay of our economy, it is disappointing that we have not been able to sell this idea to our new generation," she observed and exhorted the students, attaining their degrees, to become modal agriculture entrepreneurs instead of standing in queue for Government jobs. "The Government will support you on all fronts. I want you to become partners in our new plans for rejuvenating the agriculture sector and this way you will serve your motherland and not by making slogans only," she said. Expressing her serious concern over the trend of converting agricultural lands into non-agricultural purposes and wanton construction on highly-productive lands, the Chief Minister said no law or punishment can work unless we incentivize agriculture and inspire the farmer to cultivate land to earn a handsome income. Urging the universities to upgrade courses to keep pace with new technological advancements, Mehbooba Mufti also stressed upon short diploma courses for young progressive farmers, who want to pursue entrepreneurship in agriculture and allied sectors, besides holding awareness camps to acquaint them in new trends in the farming sector. Earlier, the SKUAST-J ViceChancellor Dr Pradeep K Sharma, read out the university report that highlighted establishment of two advance centres for Horticulture and dryland agriculture and strengthening of campus placement cell in the last one year. During the Convocation, 12 PhD Scholars, 67 MSc (Agriculture) students from different disciplines, 38 MVSc. students, seven Basic Science students and 99 Graduate students were awarded the degrees by Governor N N Vohra, who is Chancellor of the University. Toppers of BSc Honours (Agriculture), Biotechnology and BVSc & AH were awarded the Gold medals while 42 students were awarded Certificates of Merit. Three toppers, who were awarded Gold Medals, included Vancee Yadav, Kamlesh Kumari Bajwa and Tania Gupta. Chairman, Legislative Council, Haji Inayat, Deputy Chief Minister, Dr Nirmal Singh, Minister for Agriculture Production, Ghulam Nabi Lone, Minister for Education, Naeem Akhter, other members of the Council of Ministers and legislators also attended the Convocation