The 5th Convocation of the Sher-e-Kashmir University of Agricultural Sciences and Technology of Jammu (SKUAST-J) was held here at General Zorawar Singh Auditorium, today, wherein Governor NN Vohra, Chancellor of the University presided over the function while Dr. Arvind Panagariya, Vice Chairman, NITI Aayog, was the Chief Guest.
During the Convocation, the Chancellor awarded 12 PhD degrees in Agriculture and Veterinary Sciences; 67 Master’s degrees in Agriculture, Biotechnology and Agri Business Management; 38 Master’s degrees in Veterinary Sciences; 7 Master’s degrees in Basic Sciences; 54 Bachelor degrees in Agriculture and Biotechnology; 45 Bachelor degrees in Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Sciences; and 3 Gold Medals and 42 Certificates of Merit were awarded by the Pro Chancellor.
The Governor congratulated all the students who received degrees, certificates and medals at the Convocation and wished them continuing success in their future careers. He also conveyed his best wishes to their parents.
Highlighting major agriculture production challenges before the state and the country, the Governor 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.
In his Convocation Address, Dr. Arvind Panagariya stressed the need for Agriculturists and Economists to come together to give a fillip to rural economic conditions. Highlighting several policy interventions for improving agricultural growth in the country Dr. Pangariya said that the 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 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.
Dr. Panagariya also spoke on Swachh Bharat Abhiyan and urged that as a nation we should learn to keep our surroundings clean and make it a point to dispose off every bit of trash in an environment friendly manner.
The Governor in his address also said that to feed 1.3 billion countrymen we need another revolution in agriculture and its allied sectors. 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 the need to enhance its productivity in the coming years. The Governor said that 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.
To make Jammu and Kashmir self-reliant and a net exporter in this sector in the coming years, the Governor 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. He also called for minimizing post-harvest losses for ensuring better returns to the cultivators.
The Governor appreciated the progress achieved in the past years for improving the Seed Replacement Rate particularly for Maize and Potatoes and stressed the continuation of such initiatives for achieving progressively better outcomes.
Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti, in her address, exhorted the Farm Scientists to evolve techniques and practices to give boost to the production and productivity in agriculture and allied sectors. She stressed taking research from the labs to the fields for the betterment of agriculture sector and exhorted the students of Farm Universities to be innovative and contribute in making this a lucrative profession for the youngsters.
Earlier, Dr. P.K. Sharma, Vice Chancellor, SKUAST-J, presented the Vice Chancellor’s Report and highlighted the achievements of the University and its future plans of action. He thanked the Governor for taking keen interest in the growth and development of the University.