DARE Claims that National Agricultural Research System One of the Largest in the World
The Department of Agricultural Research and Education (DARE) coordinates and promotes agricultural research & education in the country. DARE provides the necessary government linkages for the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR), the premier research organisation for co-ordinating, guiding and managing research, education and extension in agriculture including horticulture, fisheries and animal sciences in the entire country. With 102 research institutes and 73 agricultural universities spread across the country, the National Agricultural Research System (NARS) is one of the largest in the world. While the ICAR Institutes have the Departments of Extension, the Agricultural Universities have the directorates of extension to identify, test and refine the transferable agricultural technologies and other related information emanating from research as well as to establish effective liaison among various departments and other stakeholders both the public and private for their transfer.
To ensure effective transfer of the technologies and scientific information related to the farm sector to the farmers, line departments and other end users at the district level, the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) has established a network of 645 Krishi Vigyan Kendras (KVKs) in the country. The KVKs are mandated to conduct frontline extension through the assessment and demonstration of technologies/products and its dissemination through number of extension programmes including training of farmers through specific training programmes developed by KVKs on improved technologies related to agriculture and allied fields, benefiting the farmers in terms of increased crop production as well as farm income.
To coordinate, monitor and implement the activities by KVKs in their respective zone, 11 Agricultural Technology Application Research Institutes (ATARIs) have been setup at zonal level. At state level, the responsibility of coordination and monitoring is with Directors of Extension of State Agricultural Universities in coordination with ATARI. For effective monitoring of mandated activities of KVKs, a local monitoring committee at State Agricultural University level is formed. The Quarterly review of KVKs is done by Vice-Chancellor of respective SAUs to monitor the technical, administrative, financial and developmental activities. KVKs conduct one Scientific Advisory Committee meeting every year to monitor the progress of technical, administrative, financial and developmental activities.
The KVKs function in close harmony and partnership with all developmental agencies/organizations, farmers and other stakeholders. KVKs also provide technological backstopping to ‘Agriculture Technology Management Agencies’ (ATMA), a scheme funded by the Department of Agriculture Cooperation and Farmers Welfare (DAC&FW) and other agencies at the district level. A district level Joint Action Plan for enhancing interface between scientists, extension functionaries and farmers is prepared through a joint meeting of KVK and ATMA officials under the chairmanship of the District Collector. A quarterly interface meeting, involving all line departments of the district, is held by all KVKs to monitor the implementation of the Joint Action Plan and to share new information and technologies for wider dissemination in the district.
The Indian Council of Agricultural Research also maintains effective linkages with other key programs of the Government of India like RKVY, MNREGA and NHM and other extension activities including those related to public sector, farmers’ organizations, NGOs, Commodity Boards and private sector. ICAR contributes through technology backstopping in the National Rabi and Kharif conferences organized every year in which extension agencies from all the states also participate.
Besides, the Agricultural Technology Information Centres (ATIC) are also established at various ICAR Institutes and Agricultural Universities which function as “single window” support system linking various units of a research institution with intermediary users and end users (farmers). They provide advisories, inputs and diagnostic services for soil and water testing, plant and livestock health as well as provide information through published literature and communication materials as well as audio-visual aids.