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Deliberating the importance of education in empowering the agriculture sector at Agri-Food Techathon 2021

Written by Mamie M. Arndt

I had the honour of being a part of the Agri-Food Techathon 2021, a national level online technical fest organized by the NABARD-funded Agri-Business Incubation Centre (ABIC), IIT Kharagpur, in association with Centre for Rural Development & Innovative Sustainable Technologies and Rajendra Mishra School of Engineering Entrepreneurship. 

India has always been hailed as a land of farmers. They have always been placed highly in our society. Moreover, cultivation has been deeply related to Vedic rituals. Our Honourable Prime Minister Narendra Modi has rightly said, “The fragrance of Indian soil along with the sweat, hard work and talent of our workers will create products that will reduce India’s dependence on imports and will move towards self-reliance.” Rightfully, the Government of India has taken a multitude of initiatives for holistic and sustainable development of Indian agriculture. To ameliorate the soil fertility and ensure sustainable natural resource management, the Soil Health Card Scheme has been launched. Initiatives like Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchai Yojana (PMKSY), Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana (PMKVY) and Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY) have been launched for providing a boost to the agricultural sector. 

It gives me immense pleasure to highlight that IIT Kharagpur has been an agent of transformation for bringing in the required agricultural reforms. What makes me prouder is that IIT Kharagpur has been at the forefront of implementing the new National Education Policy, which will pave the way from ‘Vocal for Local’ to ‘Local for Global’. Our new National Education Policy focuses on the interdisciplinary study focusing on what students want to learn. As per the NEP 2020, vocational education and internships will start in schools from the 6th grade. In my opinion, augmenting the importance of vocational education will immensely benefit the development of agri-food start-ups. The NEP 2020 also recommends establishing National Educational Technology Forum (NETF) which will help take technology to the farthest corner of the country. I am sure that in the longer run, the recommendations enlisted in the NEP 2020 will indeed have a positive impact on the agricultural sector as well. 

I believe we neither lack potential nor capabilities. We have the vision to guide us, a leadership to lead us and a strong will to achieve our goals. The need of the hour is to move in the direction of implementation. I am sure that the successful implementation of the NEP will lay the foundation of the Swarnim Bharat of the 21st century and help us achieve the 5-trillion economy goal. 

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Mamie M. Arndt