Particulars of the ICAR
- The Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) is an autonomous organisation under the Department of Agricultural Research and Education (DARE), Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare.
- The Council is the apex body for coordinating, guiding and managing research and education in agriculture including horticulture, fisheries and animal sciences in the entire country. With 97 ICAR institutes and 45 agricultural universities spread across the country this is one of the largest national agricultural systems in the world.
- Formerly known as Imperial Council of Agricultural Research, it was established on 16 July 1929 as a registered society under the Societies Registration Act, 1860 in pursuance of the report of the Royal Commission on Agriculture.
- The ICAR has its headquarters at New Delhi.
- The Council is the apex body for coordinating, guiding and managing research and education in agriculture including horticulture, fisheries and animal sciences in the entire country.
- Union Minister of Agriculture is the ex-officio President of the ICAR Society
Role of ICAR in Indian Agriculture
- The ICAR has played a pioneering role in ushering Green Revolution and subsequen developments in agriculture in India through its research and technology development that has enabled the country to increase the production of foodgrains by 4 times, horticultural crops by 6 times, fish by 9 times (marine 5 times and inland 17 times), milk 6 times and eggs 27 times since 1950-51, thus making a visible impact on the national food and nutritional security. It has played a major role in promoting excellence in higher education in agriculture. It is engaged in cutting edge areas of science and technology development and its scientists are internationally acknowledged in their fields.
- The mandate of the Indian Council of Agricultural Research is: To plan, undertake, aid, promote and coordinate education, research and its application in agriculture, agroforestry, animal husbandry, fisheries, home science and allied sciences.
- To act as a clearing house of research and general information relating to agriculture, animal husbandry, home science and allied sciences, and fisheries through its publications and information system; and instituting and promoting transfer of technology programmes.
- To provide, undertake and promote consultancy services in the fields of education, research, training and dissemination of information in agriculture, agroforestry, animal husbandry, fisheries, home science and allied sciences.
- To look into the problems relating to broader areas of rural development concerning agriculture, including postharvest technology by developing co-operative programmes with other organizations such as the Indian Council of Social Science Research, Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, Bhabha Atomic Research Centre and the universities.
- To do other things considered necessary to attain the objectives of the Society
Issue of Agri Research and extension
- Agricultural extension is the application of scientific research and new knowledge to agricultural practices through farmer education. Basically educating farmers about the latest technologies being developed in the labs i.e. lab to land linkage.
- While Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) with agriculture research universities played a key role in the Green revolution. Of late agriculture research has been plagued by severe under investment and neglect.
Three key weaknesses
Agri education is weak in states due to (i) resource crunch, (ii) difficulty in attracting talented faculty, (iii) limited linkages and collaborations with international counterparts, (iv) weakening of the lab-to-land connect; and, (v) lack of innovation
Low investment in public agricultural research in India. As share of agriculture GDP, it is even less than that of Bangladesh and Indonesia
Majority (63.5 per cent) of scientists have low to very low level of productivity
- There is need of instituting performance indicators in universities.
- Improve investment as a proportion of agri GDP
- securing participation from the private sector
- instituting a system in which the winner is offered a proportionately large enough award for innovating desirable agricultural traits (such as improving pules productivity considerably) but the intellectual property rights of the innovation are transferred to the government
- Leverage mobile phones to provide timely information to farmers
- Leverage the potential of drones (UAVs) to provide crucial information on crop health, irrigation problems, soil variation and even pest and fungal infestations that are not apparent at eye level to farmers
- Improve regulatory process to address concerns against GM crops while adapting high yielding technologies
Q.) The Indian Council of Agriculture Research (ICAR) mandate is agriculture education, research and farm extension. Critically evaluate its performance over the years and how it must be revamped?