Global recognition eludes India’s agricultural universities and that is a reflection of our overall higher education system that cannot boast of a single Indian institution in the world’s top 200 universities, President Pranab Mukherjee said today.
‘India has been a frontrunner in higher learning from ancient times. Agriculture was taught at the universities of Taxila and Nalanda. Yet over the years, we have not been able to maintain our position,’ he said while addressing the golden jubilee year convocation of the Jawaharlal Nehru Krishi Vishwa Vidyalaya (JNKVV) in this cantonment town, official sources said.
The JNKVV developed 238 varieties of crops like chickpea and other pulses, the First Citizen said, adding that soyabean varieties developed by the University — including the Jawahar series — have covered over 90 per cent area under soybean in the country.
‘A great challenge before our nation is to end the curse of poverty and deprivation. Poverty has no religion, hunger no creed and despair no geography.
Mere poverty alleviation is not enough. It is poverty elimination that can truly herald India’s arrival in the comity of advanced nations. Studies have inferred that a one-percentage growth in agriculture is two to three times more effective in fighting poverty than a one-percentage growth in non-farm sectors,’ he said.
It is to the ‘credit’ of our agricultural scientists and farmers that India transformed itself from being a net importer of grain in the sixties to being self-sufficient and an exporter.
India today stands ‘second’ in terms of both rice and wheat production in the world.
It is also the ‘largest’ rice
exporter and second largest wheat exporter.
‘We have to now maintain our hard-fought leadership position.
At the same time, we have to continue making strong progress in
grain production in a challenging scenario of rising population,
limited land and water availability, climate changes and
degradation of natural resources,’ Dr Mukherjee said.
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President Shri Pranab Mukherjee at convocation of IISER
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