Srinagar, Sep 20: Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha stated on Wednesday that certain longstanding laws in the system have undergone reform, referring a specific instance from four years ago when a law prohibited High Density plantation in Jammu. However, these regulations have since been abolished, effectively erasing distinctions between the agricultural practices in Kashmir and Jammu regions.
Addressing the gathering during the 25th Foundation Day celebrations of SKUAST-Jammu at Baba Jitto auditorium, he said during the three years, the administration has taken several decisions to benefit farmers directly including Credit Facility etc.
“I know that through banks, farmers particularly in the Jammu region are yet to avail financial credit. I urge farmers that Principal Secretary, Agriculture Production Department Shailendra Kumar and I are also monitoring this issue,” he said.
He also pointed out that the G20 New Delhi Leaders' Declaration had unequivocally prioritized climate-resilient crops, accelerated innovations, and increased productivity while reducing waste to ensure food security and enhance the lives of farmers.
LG Sinha said like farmers in other states of Country are getting financial credit benefits from the government and the same should be replicated here. “We are trying our best to implement the same,” he said.
“People here are making small things as major issues. I think this matter will change the destiny of farmers of Jammu region. We are on it and wherever there will be some issues, they should be brought under the notice of concerned officers of the Agriculture department,” he said.
The Lieutenant Governor said Holistic Agriculture Development Program (HADP) has brought a culture change in farming, agriculture innovation, to acquire and apply knowledge.
“Some laws were traditionally here, four years before there was a law that High Density plantation was not allowed in Jammu. Now such laws have been changed and now there is no difference between Kashmir and Jammu regions,” he said, adding, that like these other laws were also changed against the farmers in UT particularly in Jammu region.
LG Sinha said presently there is no such law here that creates discrimination among the farmers. “If there would be any such law regarding that, it will be changed immediately,” he added.
During his speech, LG extended his felicitations to the Vice Chancellor, faculty members, and students. He said transformative reforms initiated in 2020 to modernise SKUAST-Jammu, aligning it with contemporary workforce requirements in the Agriculture and Allied Sectors.
LG Sinha highlighted the university's remarkable achievements over the past three years, including the establishment of a sustainable innovation ecosystem in the agriculture and allied domain.
“Additionally, three new faculties in Agricultural Engineering, Dairy Technology, and Horticulture & Forestry were introduced to foster synergies between cutting-edge technologies, skills, and research for catalyzing rapid structural changes in the field of farming,” he said.
The Lt. Governor underscored the paramount significance of agriculture, highlighting it as the most critical and delicate sector for the economy and crucial for human survival.
He stressed the need for Agriculture Universities to be seamlessly connected to the global knowledge network, allowing them to swiftly embrace the latest insights and innovations.
“During his visit to SKUAST Jammu, LG elaborated on the policy reforms and technological advancements undertaken in recent years to rejuvenate the agriculture and related sectors.
LG Sinha said Holistic Agriculture Development Program (HADP) has brought a culture change in farming, agriculture innovation, to acquire and apply knowledge. It has stimulated engagement among change agents to establish full-fledged agri-business incubation centres for new startups, he said.
He said the knowledge-research capital of SKUAST should be tapped to further strengthen the 29 projects being implemented under HADP, to develop mechanisms to acquire tools to solve tomorrow's problems for ensuring food security, nutrition and sustainable management of natural resources.
LG Sinha advocated for the path of Sustainable and Climate-Smart Agriculture and urged farmers to embrace niche, water-efficient, and high-value crops.
He encouraged young scientists to seek new opportunities, innovative interventions, and inventions that would sustain the growth of ecological resources while maintaining a balance between market demands and soil health, ensuring that the agriculture sector remains a robust foundation for overall development.
He said 70 per cent of Jammu and Kashmir's population dependent on agriculture and allied sectors, the dedication to training, providing access to extension services, and supporting financing and marketing institutions, with a particular focus on ensuring that the benefits reach farmers, as well as young individuals and women engaged in the sector,” Lt. Governor said.
The Lt Governor emphasised on assessing the progress achieved in programmes like Kissan Sampark Abhiyan, identifying the gaps and taking corrective measures in this regard. It should be ensured that more farmers are registered on Daksh portal, he added.
He also lauded the significant contribution of SKUAST-Jammu to the G20 Summit and asked the University to prepare a roadmap for the next 25 years.
During the event, Dr. B N Tripathi, the Vice-Chancellor of SKUAST-Jammu, showcased the university's notable accomplishments and emphasized the pivotal role of the Holistic Agricultural Development Program in revolutionizing the field of agriculture.
Prior to this, LG inaugurated several new facilities at the university, including the Silver Jubilee Park, an apartment complex, and a faculty club. Additionally, he unveiled the Rajat Jayanti Smarak to commemorate the university's 25th Foundation Day.
As part of the festivities, he also launched the Green Education Program, the International Helpdesk, and the Academic Management System (AMS) Portal.
The occasion also saw the recognition of former employees of SKUAST-Jammu for their unwavering dedication to the university. Furthermore, publications highlighting success stories of startups associated with SKUAST-Jammu, an International Helpdesk Brochure, and a Commemorative Souvenir were unveiled.
Among others present included Bharat Bhushan, Chairman of the District Development Council, Jammu, and Shailendra Kumar, Principal Secretary of the Agriculture Production Department, as well as Vice-Chancellors from various universities, Heads of Departments (HoDs), scientists, faculty members, staff, and students.