Moderate increase in students opting for agriculture courses

The data on number of students joining agriculture education at graduate and post graduate levels suggests that there has been only a marginal increase in last four years

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New Delhi: If we look at the statistics, the students opting for agriculture has increased moderately every year.  Number of graduate and post-graduate students passed out from different agricultural universities in India stood at 22,739 in 2012, 23,892 in 2013, 24,326 in 2014 and 24,736 in 2015 respectively. 

Although the government claims success in increasing number of students each year, these numbers look moderate because of the increasing young population in India and shrinking agriculture space. At present there are 73 Agricultural Universities (AUs) including 05 Deemed-to-be universities, 02 Central Agricultural Universities, 04 Central Universities with agriculture faculty. Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) conducts an All India Entrance Examination every year for filling up of 15 percent and 25 percent seats respectively for undergraduate and post-graduate degree programmes every year.

The number of students who appeared for these exams in the last three years are indicated below:-

Number of students appeared
Year UG PG Ph.D Total
2013 96069 23785 1546 121400
2014 129116 26972 2109 158197
2015 122122 30035 4797 156954

 

The percentage of students opting for agriculture and allied sciences for the last three years is indicated below :

Year UG PG
2013 58.31 51.17
2014 57.74 52.15
2015 57.00 53.00

Agriculture ministry says that the Education Division of the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) has initiated number of steps for quality assurance, i.e., accreditation of all Agricultural Universities, ranking of all Agricultural Universities as per standard of education, enhancing number of scholarships and fellowships for students and enhancing competency of faculty, etc.

  • The Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) is implementing a Plan scheme, ‘Strengthening and Development of Higher Agricultural Education in India’ with an approved outlay of Rs 2900 crores during the XII plan.  The scheme strives to plan, undertake, aid, promote and coordinate agricultural education in the country with an aim to enhance the quality and relevance of higher agricultural education to address the emerging challenges in the agriculture sector.
  • To attract and sustain the interest of youth in agriculture education, the ICAR provides stipend and Fellowship/assistance under various programmes both at undergraduate (UG) and post graduate (PG) level viz. Rural Awareness Work Experience (RAWE) and National Talent Scholarships (NTS) for the UG students, Senior Research Fellowships (SRF) and Junior Research Fellowships (JRF) for PG and UG students respectively.  Experiential Learning modules for developing entrepreneurship skills and confidence among UG students and assistance in the form of fellowship for global exposure to the agriculture students.
  • ICAR has also revised syllabus of undergraduate education of Agriculture and its allied sub-sectors including Horticulture, Dairy Technology, Food Technology, Fisheries, Biotechnology, Agril. Engineering, Forestry, Home Science and Sericulture.  The new syllabus is a blend of education with entrepreneurship programme of one year (student READY and employment).
  • The Government of India has launched a Central Sector Scheme viz. Agri-Clinics and Agri-Business Centre (AC&ABC) in 2002 to attract education youth in agriculture sector for creation of self employment opportunities alongwith providing extension services to the farmers.  Since inception of the scheme 47955 candidates have been trained and 20934 agri-ventures have been established in the country till 30.06.2016.
  • Besides, realizing the importance of rural youth in agriculture development, Govt. of India has initiated a programme on ‘Attracting and Retaining Youth in Agriculture’ (ARYA) during the XII plan.   The objectives of the ARYA project are (i) to attract and empower the youth in Rural areas to take up various Agriculture, allied and service sector enterprises for sustainable income and gainful employment in selected districts, (ii) to enable the Farm Youth to establish network groups to take up resource and capital intensive activities like processing, value addition and marketing; and (iii) to demonstrate functional linkage with different institutions and stakeholders for convergence of opportunities available under various schemes/programme for sustainable development of Youth.  ARYA project is being implemented in 25 States through KVKs, one district from each State with technical partners from ICAR institutes and Agricultural Universities.
  • For the upgradation of course curricula in UG and PG programmes, the fifth Deans Committee Report and Broad Subject Matter Area (BSMA) Report in various discipline respectively have been released to make agricultural education attractive, profitable and employment generating profession.
  • Various programmes like RAWE , NTS, SRF,  JRF, ARYA and AC&ABC are being implemented to make agriculture an attractive, profitable and employment generating profession.
  • One year course for articulating concept of entrepreneurship in the form of Student READY (Rural Enterpreneurship Awareness Development Yojana) has also been added in undergraduate education of Agriculture & its allied sub sectors.