:: 4th CONVOCATION OF MPUAT, UDAIPUR ON OCTOBER 16, 2006 ::

Chancellor's Address on the occasion of 4th Convocation of Maharana Pratap University of Agriculture and Technology, Udaipur on 16th October, 2006

 


Smt. Pratibhaji Patil
Governor of Rajasthan

                 Your Excellency, the Vice-President of India, Shriman Bhairon Singhji Shekhawat Saheb, Vice-Chancellor, Maharana Pratap University of Agriculture and Technology, Dr.S.L.Mehta, Dr.V.S.Vyas, Eminent Agricultural Economist and Shri Bhavarlal Hiralal Jain, Chairman, Jain Irrigation Systems Limited, Jalgaon, Members of Board of Management and Academic Council, faculty members, distinguished guests, students, employees of the University,  media personnel, ladies and gentlemen.

                 I am extremely happy to be amongst you on this occasion of the Fourth Convocation of Maharana Pratap University of Agriculture and Technology.   Convocation day of a University is a very special day for both the faculty and the students. For faculty it is a moment of joy and fulfillment since they have contributed in shaping the young talent by instilling skills and entrepreneurship in them.  For students the day signifies the accomplishment of a major achievement of their aspirations and beginning of a new phase in their life.  I congratulate all the scholars and young scientists who have been conferred degrees and especially those who have received Gold Medals from this prestigious university named after Maharana Pratap a great warrior, patriot, and freedom fighter and a pride of our country.  I would specially like to congratulate Dr.V.S.Vyas and Shri Bhavarlal Hiralalji Jain for being honoured by the degree of Doctor of Science (Honoris Causa) by this University. Dr.Vyas has set up a milestone in the field of agriculture and development of which every one has every reason to be proud of.  He is a Padma Vibhushan which shows the nationwide recognition of his work. I congratulate him on the occasion.  Shri Bhavarlal Jain is very well known to me. He hails originally from Rajasthan and incidentally belongs to my district in Maharashtra. I have seen the originality in his work. He has set a new history. He has done tremendous service to the nation by putting up Research Projects and Drip Irrigation Projects which is a unique boon to the agriculturists all over.  He does what he preaches. He is a self made man.   His culture is agriculture.  I feel glad and proud to congratulate him on this occasion.    

I would also like to congratulate Dr. S.L.Mehta, Vice-Chancellor and the faculty for their strenuous efforts in improving quality of education, promoting location specific and problem oriented research and extension efforts.  For the last two years I have been closely watching with admiration the initiatives taken for quality assurance in education.  Further the university has made rapid strides in the area of technological and economic empowerment of women which is exemplary.  Other initiatives taken by the university include establishment of hi-tech horticulture unit, improving infrastructure for skill and entrepreneurship development, fruit and vegetable processing demonstration units in KVKs, seed processing unit and many more.  The impact of these initiatives are reflected in the record placement of students with reputed organizations. The strengthening of KVKs in 10 districts have led to effective dissemination of new technologies to the farming community, and I am confident that it will gain further momentum in the years to come.  In association with Rajasthan Livelihood Mission, the University has organized large number of vocational training programmes which has created a middle level skilled workers and para-professionals in agriculture and allied areas.  All these efforts have brought good name to the University. However, the journey towards quality improvement is long and arduous.  It requires determination and total commitment from all the stakeholders of the University.  

Agricultural Universities have primarily been established with the objective of bringing agricultural transformation in the region through development of region specific technologies and their dissemination to the farming community.  I am sure that the university will be second to none in discharging this mandatory task. 

Agriculture has always been and continues to be a core sector of the Indian economy which provides livelihood for majority of our population.  As a result of green revolution impressive gains in agriculture have taken place and these have been well recognized and appreciated the world over. We are now preparing for the second green revolution and the Prime Minister has given a Seven Point Programme for that. Rising population, globalization of markets and steady increase in per-capita income has pushed up the demand for food and non-food agricultural commodities. Fortunately, our country is endowed with a wide range of agro-climatic conditions conductive for growing of diverse crops and different kinds of fruits and vegetables. This is our inherent strength and we should take full advantage of this by evolving most remunerative crop mixes as well as new technologies which make agriculture more profitable. 

Rajasthan has made spectacular progress in enhancing agricultural production of crops like bajra, rapeseed and mustard, seed spices, oil seeds and pulses, etc.  Yet the productivity levels are much below the potential that exists.  It is true that major part of agriculture is under dry land and farmers face uneven, uncertain, aberrant rainfall each year. Therefore, their income fluctuates a great deal each year across the regions.   Fragmentation of holdings due to rise in population and increasing dependence on agriculture is another dilemma.  The challenge is to increase productivity with lesser input cost.  It can only be done, through the application of science and technology. Higher economic returns to the farming community is necessary to avoid farmers losing faith in agriculture. Further, for ensuring livelihood security it is extremely important that new technologies are disseminated to the end users. Reaching the ignorant should be our priority.  We should develop integrated farming system which results in higher productivity and income, not only per unit area but also per unit water, which is the most precious resource for a State like Rajasthan.  Despite the State facing recurrent droughts, the farmers of the State have developed drought cropping mechanism and the state is free from the kind of suicides occurring in other states like Maharashtra and Punjab. It is also due to livestock which gives the farmer a steady income.  Since animal husbandry is an integral component of the livelihood system of the people, the quality improvement of animals being reared must get more attention.  Feed and fodder management on scientific lines and their health care can be a potential mechanism to combat extreme drought.           

The contribution of women is very high in the farm sector as they are involved in majority of farm operations and are therefore subjected to extra harsh conditions of work which leads to drudgery.  It is an irony that despite the establishment of two Agricultural Universities in the State, the farm women have not received improved implements and equipments in large measure. It is your responsibility to ensure that drudgery reduction occurs through the use of scientifically devised efficient farm implements. Under Mission Mode of NATP project, the Home Science scientists from this University have demonstrated new women-friendly implements which reduce drudgery, enhance income and nutrition.  It is a matter of happiness that for this good work done, the Department of Science and Technology, Govt. of India has instituted an award and there is a great need to extend this work to much larger areas of the State.  Towards this objective I am happy to know that Department of Bio-technology has provided support for the establishment of a Women Bio-resource Center which aims at economic empowerment of 1400 women in 10 villages. Rural women have limited option to take up non-land economic activities.  Hence their economic empowerment is largely dependent on vocational skills in agriculture and allied sectors.  Selection of appropriate and location specific agro-based enterprises, motivating women to take up suitable enterprises and linking their production with marketing can play a major role in economic empowerment. This will lead to rapid transformation and acceleration of agricultural growth. Adding value to the hours of work done by farm women, coupled with skill and entrepreneurship development holds the key for livelihood security. This extra money in the hands of women will be efficiently utilized for family welfare and social development programmes like education of their children etc.  A step in this direction would be to form more and more women self-help groups.  These women should also be motivated to take up de-addiction work in their villages. This would amount to saving of income of their husbands, which can be used for the well being of their families. 

            Another concern I would like to highlight is the decline of cattle wealth in the country, especially in Rajasthan. We need to develop innovative strategies so that cattle wealth could be made more remunerative. I understand that there is a Center of Renewable Energy Sources in this University.  The scientists at this centre must contribute towards development of technologies that gives higher economic return through maintenance of cattle and adding value to the cattle waste.

We are living in a globalized world and there are new opportunities for our farmers to reap the benefits.  It is necessary to take up such activities which have comparative advantages for us.  There is need to further diversify agriculture in Rajasthan. Despite climate and soil ideally suited for arid and sub-tropical horticulture, the State occupies a very low rank in the horticulture map of the country. I am extremely happy that this University has taken it as a mission to develop "Mewar and Hadothi region as the horticulture bowl of Rajasthan".  Towards fulfillment of this objective it has established mother orchards in all KVKs as well as Hi-tech Horticulture units and fruit and vegetable processing facilities at Udaipur.  This will go a long way in promoting horticulture in the State. What is really needed is the supply of quality planting material and it is a matter of happiness that the University has assured to supply quality planting materials to the farmers in the region.  Along with horticulture development, we will have to ensure proper processing of horticulture produce also in the State including development of post harvest management technology. The establishment of processing facilities will help farmers to get full benefit of the new technologies. 

            I am confident that the agriculture scientists who have received their degrees today would take it as a mission to transform the agriculture scenario through adoption of new cutting edge technologies. Through your dedicated support, it would be possible to bring happiness to millions of farmers who toil hard in the sun and rain to feed this nation.  In this stupendous task I offer my best wishes to all of you. 

            We are extremely grateful to His Excellency, the Vice-President of India for consenting to our request to be the Chief Guest and to deliver the Convocation Address. All the scientists and young scholars would have the benefit of his wisdom and I am sure this will spur them in helping the farmers in achieving higher productivity and income.  In the end, I would like to congratulate the degree recipients and gold medalists of this University once again.

 JAI HIND
 

Address of The Hon’ble Vice-President Of India

The Hon’ble Vice-Chancellor’s Report
   

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