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STRENGTHENING KRISHI VIGYAN KENDRAS (KVKs)
3/31/2020 11:55:28 PM

Dr. Parveen Kumar, Dr. D. Namgyal

The Krishi Vigyan Kendra’s (KVK’s) are at the forefront of technology dissemination and a vital an integral part of the National Agricultural Research System (NARS) of the country. Since the establishment of first KVK in Pondicherry in 1974 under Tamil Nadu Agriculture University (TNAU), their role and contribution in the agricultural sector of the country has been immense. Although, the initial idea of setting up of these KVKs was to provide vocational training to rural youths in agriculture and other allied sectors; but with the passage of time the roles and responsibilities of these KVKs changed. Today KVKs provide a platform for interface between farmers, researchers and extension functionaries to address the problems of agriculture and allied sectors. These institutions are engaged in on farm testing to assess the location specific needs of the farm sector, front line demonstrations to establish production potential of technologies on farmers’ fields; to conduct training programmes for farmer, youths, farm women for their skill development, to act as a resource and knowledge centre of agricultural technologies for supporting initiatives of public and private sector for improving the agricultural economy of the country and the state in particular in which they are located and to provide agro advisories to the farming community using Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) and other tools.
Presently 706 Krishi Vigyan Kendras’ are operational in India. Of these 706, 458 are working under Agricultural Universities, 64 are under ICAR institutes, 18 are under Central Agricultural Universities, 105 are working under NGOs, 39 are working under respective state governments, 6 are under PSUs and 16 are under other educational institutions. All the KVKs are now under different Agricultural Technology Application Research Institutes (ATARI) previously called as Zonal Project Directorates (ZPDs). ATARI Zone 1 at Ludhiana has 69 KVKs including 21 of Jammu and Kashmir, 13 each of Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand and 22 of Punjab. ATARI zone II at Jodhpur has 63 KVKs of Delhi, Haryana and Rajasthan; ATARI zone III Kanpur has 83 KVKs of Uttar Pradesh alone, ATARI zone 1V Patna has 63 KVKs of Bihar and Jharkhand, ATARI zone V Kolkata has 59 KVKs of Odisha, West Bengal and Andaman and Nicobar Islands, ATARI zone V1 Guwahati has 46 KVKs of Assam, Arunachal Pradesh and Sikkim, ATARI zone V11 Barapani HAS 43 KVKs of Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland and Tripura, ATARI zone V111 Pune has 79 KVKs of Maharashtra, Gujarat and Goa, ATARI zone 1X Jabalpur has 79 KVKs of Chattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh, ATARI zone X Hyderabad has 74 KVKs OF Tamilnadu, Pondicherry, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana and ATARI zone X1 Bangaluru has 48 KVKs of Karnataka, Kerala and Lakshadweep. The Krishi Vigyan Kendras are a district level unit catering to the diverse needs of a district, some of which have different agro-climatic zones, different farming situations, and consequently different needs of different stakeholders. Presently, each KVK has a team of six scientists of different disciplines with each one taking care of the subject matter of his/her area. With the passage of time KVKs mandate has changed from a single commodity approach to a broad based that now includes not only cereal crops but to other crops like horticultural, medicinal, oilseed, pulses and all other crops that are grown within the concerned district. Besides, KVKs are now training young person to become entrepreneurs, providing farm and weather advisory services, celebration of important days, and in devising technologies that help in drudgery reduction. There is also a lot of reporting work in the KVKs. So a meagre strength of six, finds itself overloaded and difficult to cope with the increasing responsibilities. Also a single KVK in districts having population in crores is not sufficient to cater to the needs of all.
A high powered committee on management of KVKs was set up under chairman ship of Dr. R. S. Paroda had also come up with a slew of recommendations regarding the Krishi Vigyan Kendra. It recommended the change of vision of KVKs to ‘Science and technology-led growth leading to enhanced productivity, profitability and sustainability of agriculture’, where as the Mission should be ‘Farmer-centric growth in agriculture and allied sectors through the application of appropriate technologies in specific agro-eco system perspective’. The new mandate of the KVKs as recommended by Paroda Committee was ‘Technology Assessment and Demonstration for its wider Application and Capacity Development’ (TADACD). It also called for an additional Krishi Vigyan Kendra in the district be established only based on specific criteria such as large rural population, bigger geographical area, higher net sown area, relative Executive Summary backwardness norms of the district, more Tribal/Scheduled Caste/Scheduled Tribe population, and those in mountainous (above 5000 feet above mean sea level) and difficult/border areas.
The Paroda committee also recommended that the position of Programme Coordinator of Krishi Vigyan Kendra should be re-designated as ‘Chief Scientist- cum-Head’, in the cadre of Principal Scientist/Professor (PB-4, ` 37400-67000 with GP ` 10000), for effective management, implementation of mandated activities through proper coordination and convergence with line departments, including the district administration. Further, all Subject Matter Specialists in Indian Council of Agricultural Research/State Agriculture Universities/Non-Governmental Organizations/State Government Krishi Vigyan Kendras should henceforth be redesignated uniformly as Scientist/Assistant Professor (PB-3, ` 15600-39100 with GP ` 6000) to ensure much needed parity across teaching, research and extension positions.
The total staff strength for each Krishi Vigyan Kendra should be increased to 22, comprising one Chief Scientist, 10 Scientists, one Computer Programmer, one Farm Manager, one Lab Technician, one Technician (T-I- Field/Farm), one Assistant Administrative Officer, one Stenographer Grade III, one Lower Division Clerk-cum- Store Keeper, two Drivers and two Supporting Staff. Since Krishi Vigyan Kendras are the only district level units engaged at the grass root level with the farming community, they must be strengthened by increasing their scientific staff strength, non scientific human resources, infrastructure and related machinery. This is also necessary to meet the growing aspirations of the farming community from these KVKs.
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