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Agriculture as Career Choice for Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan

Agriculture is the primary source of livelihood for around 58 per cent of India's population. Gross Value Added (GVA) by agriculture, forestry and fishing is estimated at Rs 18.55 lakh crore (US$ 265.51 billion) in FY19 (PE). Growth in Gross Value Added (GVA) by agriculture and allied sectors remained at 2.1 per cent in H1 2019-20.

Pritam Kashyap

Agriculture is the primary source of livelihood for around 58 per cent of India's population. Gross Value Added (GVA) by agriculture, forestry and fishing is estimated at Rs 18.55 lakh crore (US$ 265.51 billion) in FY19 (PE). Growth in Gross Value Added (GVA) by agriculture and allied sectors remained at 2.1 per cent in H1 2019-20. 

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has announced the ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan’ (or Self-reliant India Mission) on May 12 with an economic stimulus package of worth Rs 20 lakh crores which has aimed towards achieving the mission. The Mission focuses on the importance of promoting local products and it is expected to focus on land, labour, liquidity and laws. The mission is also expected to complement Make in India Initiative which intends to encourage manufacturing in India and agriculture sector to have great potential.  

A career in agriculture is not only limited to farming with the technological revolution there are many new areas where someone who is not a farmer can also make career related to agriculture. Even few colleges and universities also offer courses related to agriculture such as Central Institute of Fisheries Education (Haryana), Indian Agricultural Research Institute (New Delhi), National Dairy Research Institute (Haryana), Indian Institute of Vegetable Research (Uttar Pradesh), Central Potato Research Institute (Uttar Pradesh), Indian Institute of Agricultural Biotechnology (Jharkhand), International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-arid Tropics (Telangana), Imphal or Assam Agricultural University etc. 

Even to encourage the career-related aspects in agriculture and its allied fields the Indian Institute of Plantation Management (IIPM), Bengaluru in association with The Hindu will organise a webinar on 'Growth Potential of India’s Agricultural Exports and Emerging Career Opportunities’ on June 14. A webinar is expected to have discuss on initiatives taken by the agribusiness school in the field of business management education related to agribusiness, commodities, food & beverages and plantation sector to highlight the emerging opportunities in agricultural exports. 

Recently MS Swaminathan, Father of India's green revolution, suggested five-pronged strategy for adoption by the Central and state governments to help farmers suffering economic hardships due to the lockdown imposed to check the spread of coronavirus. According to a study by FICCI (Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry), agricultural start-ups are growing at 25 per cent year-on-year basis and this can offer technological solutions for helping the Indian farm sector in keeping the food and farm supply.  

There are many designations associated with a career in agriculture allied fields like Agricultural Engineering, Horticulturists, Dairy Technology, Botanist, Poultry Farming, Pisciculture (Fish Farming), Agronomists, Agricultural Economics, Agri-Business Management, Floriculture, etc. 

This career will also help in attaining Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Goal2 of SDG is about Zero hunger which states “End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture” (SDG2) recognizes the interlinkages among supporting sustainable agriculture, empowering small farmers, promoting gender equality, ending rural poverty, ensuring healthy lifestyles tackling climate change, and other issues addressed within the set of 17 Sustainable Development Goals in the Post-2015 Development Agenda. We must not forget the works to empower our agriculture by our India’s former Prime Minister, Lal Bahadur Shastri who coined the slogan Jai Kisan-Jai Jawan. This has helped to avoid famine and in 1968, the birth of the Green Revolution was announced by Indira Gandhi by the issuance of a special stamp titled the wheat revolution which has empowered the agriculture society. Even we must not forget the contribution of India’s former Prime Minister Chaudhary Charan Singh who was the Champion of India's Peasants who fought and stood for farmer issues and rights.  

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