Jammu: Sher-e-Kashmir University of Agricultural Sciences and Technology of Jammu (SKUAST-J) celebrated its 24th Foundation Day at Baba Jitto Auditorium, Main campus, Chatha in which Chief Secretary, Dr Arun Kumar Mehta was the chief guest.
Chief Guest, Dr Mehta inaugurated the exhibition at Baba Jitto Auditorium depicting various technologies and FPOs promoted by different KVKs of SKUAST-Jammu.
Bharat Bhushan, DDC Chairman Jammu, Ramesh Kumar, Divisional Commissioner, Prof. Gharu Ram Bhagat, former MLA, Prof. P.K. Sharma, former Vice Chancellor, SKUAST-Jammu, Dr. P. Ramasundaram, National Coordinator, ICAR-NAHEP and Kavinder Gupta, former Dy CM J&K, also graced the occasion.
In his address, the Chief Secretary said, J&K has favourable climatic conditions and immense untapped potential in the agriculture sector and with the right approach and endeavours, it can easily evolve as the Agri-capital of India.
The Chief Secretary underlined that around seventy percent of the population of J&K depends directly or indirectly on agriculture for their livelihoods. Development and promotion of the sector is vital for the prosperity of its people, he said.
Dr Mehta highlighted that J&K stands top among other states in farmer-household income and called for further exploring ways to increase it. Due to the fast paced development done in the UT since 2019, we already stand among the top five states in various sectors, he added.
Elaborating on novel initiatives, the Chief Secretary said that farmers have been provided Soil Health Cards and are accordingly provided expert advice on farming. He also detailed digital platforms like Agristack and unique farmer IDs being implemented in the UT. Parvaaz scheme is helping our farmers export their farm produce abroad on subsidised rates, added the Chief Secretary.
Dr Mehta called upon experts to help improve crop intensity to 2.5 crops per year through various interventions. He also encouraged participation in the Millet Mission of Government of India and increased production of oilseeds and pulses in J&K. He suggested undertaking rain water harvesting projects under MGNREGA in Kandi belts of Jammu region and boosting suitable crops there.
Chief Secretary hailed agriculture as a special and unique career pursuit of life. “We are proud of our farmers and must start campaigns to acknowledge their role in society”, he reiterated.
Prof. J. P. Sharma, Vice Chancellor, SKUAST-Jammu in his address congratulating all the teaching, non-teaching staff and students on foundation day. He lauded the farmers for their substantial contribution in the agricultural development of J&K.
He informed the gathering that as per NITI Aayog’s yearly survey. Jammu and Kashmir has secured third place in all India ranking in terms of farmers’ family earnings besides stepping up from rank 22 to 5 in agriculture and allied sector ranking within one year. He said that since its birth in 1999, SKUAST-Jammu has made rapid strides.
While highlighting the achievements of the University Prof. Sharma revealed that the farm University has released 21 new varieties of different crops during the last two years, developed Integrated Farming System Model, established Agri-business Incubation centre for the Start Ups etc. He said that sixty six students of the University qualified for the National Eligibility Test and ICAR has accredited the institution with grade ‘A”. He said that three new faculties and three new KVKs have been established by the University.
Padma Shri Prof BS Dhilon, former Vice Chancellor, PAU, Ludhiana delivered “Foundation Day Speech” on the occasion and said that for the holistic development of agriculture in J&K, the government and both farm universities should focus on recent trends in agriculture development like biotechnology, nanotechnology, digital agriculture, and the promotion of FPOs. Further, he shared his scientific as well as administrative experience dedicated to the welfare of the farming community.
Prominent personalities of Jammu namely Dr. Sushil Sharma, Head, Cardiology Department, GMC Jammu; Mahant Rohit Shastri, Pradeep Kapoor of Sewa Bharti, Maj. Gen. (Retd.) S.K. Sharma, Member, SMVDN Hospital governing body and Head Vigyan Bharti, Priti Choudhary (Nasha Mukti Kendra), Puneet Mahajan (Blood donation), Vir Pratap Singh, Head Career Counceeling, Gurha Slathia, Abhishek Abrol (SDM), Harmeet Singh, Tehsildar, Pallavi, Himanshu Sharma, Seva Bharti Gou Raksha were felicitated on the occasion for their immense contribution towards the welfare of the society.
Statutory officers, faculty members, students, non-teaching staff, social activists and progressive farmers were also present on the occasion. (GNS)