Focus: GS-III Agriculture, Indian Economy
Introduction to Steps taken regarding Agriculture Research
- To promote agricultural research and education, and to make the country self- reliant in the agriculture sector, DARE/ICAR has developed a country wide network of more than 100 Agricultural Research Institutes, 75 Agricultural Universities ably supported by a network of Krishi Vigyan Kendras (KVKs) at the district level mandated with technology assessment and demonstration for wider application and capacity development.
- The institutes are developing and promoting high yielding varieties and technologies for higher production, reducing farm input (manpower, seed, fertilizer and water) and improving the income of farmers.
- Due to the varieties of crops, improved breeds of livestock, technologies and production practices developed by ICAR/NARS ably complemented by the programmes and policies developed and implemented by the Government, the total production (2019-20) of food grains, pulses, oilseeds, sugarcane, horticultural produce, milk and fish has reached higher benchmarks thereby making India self-reliant or surplus in most of these commodities.
Study on Cultivation of GM Crops
- Bt Cotton is the ONLY Genetically Modified (GM) crop that has been approved for commercial cultivation in 2002 by the Government of India.
- Long term studies were conducted by ICAR on the impact of Bt cotton which did not show any adverse effect on soil, microflora and animal health.
- With regard to Bt Brinjal resistant to brinjal shoot fly no further action on commercialization has been taken due to 10 years moratorium imposed on GM crops by the Technical Expert Committee (TEC) appointed by the Supreme Court.
- Recently the Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee (GEAC), MoEF&CC, Govt. of India has again allowed biosafety research field trials of two new transgenic varieties of indigenously developed Bt Brinjal in eight states during 2020-23 only after taking no-objection certificate (NOC) from states concerned and confirmation of availability of isolated stretch of land for this purpose.
- GM mustard Dhara Mustard Hybrid is pending for commercial release as GEAC has advised to generate complete safety assessment data on environmental bio-safety, especially effects on beneficial insect species.
- The Government of India has very strict guidelines to test and evaluate the agronomic value of the GM crops so as to protect the interests of the farmers.
National Research Centre on Camels
For setting up of a branch in Gujarat of National Research Centre on Camel (NRCC), Bikaner, an appropriate size of land and other resources on nominal cost/lease basis is desired from the Government of Gujarat.
Steps to protect Kharai camels:
- Kharai camel has been characterized, registered and gazette notified as breed by DARE/ICAR.
- NRCC has signed an MoU with Kamdhenu University, Gujarat for further breed conservation and development by:
- Training of farmers for scientific camel husbandry;
- Organizing Scientist-farmers interaction meetings;
- Holding animal health camps;
- Providing technical support for development of the entrepreneurship towards the camel milk.
Following is being carried out by NRCC, Bikaner to protect double humped camel in Ladakh:
- Camel health management by organizing health camps in Nubra valley.
- Nutritional management by utilizing local feed resources.