New Delhi: In an incongruous look to the government thrust on technological advancement in the country, the agriculture sector which forms the backbone of nation’s economy depicts a picture of neglect.

From setting of new Central Agriculture University to progress in the field of agricultural research, the expansion of the sector has been drastically affected due to poor allocation of funds and the subsequent scarcity of resources.

Apparently important researches in the field of nanotechnology, stem cell, genomics and bio remediation are affected to large extent, hence affecting the quality of the seeds and the overall yield of crops.

For the past two years, the deduction in the budget sanctioned for the Department of Agriculture and Research (DAER) has brought projects under the agriculture sector to halt.

It includes projects related to increase in yield of pulses, potatoes, banana and other crops of different geographical zones. Besides, research projects for fish breeding and organic fertilizers are lying in lurch.

It is worth mentioning that for the current fiscal, DAER was allocated Rs 2,800 crores.  Under 11th five year plan, an amount to the tune of Rs 12,023 was to be given. But due to deduction in the funds by the Centre, the Department received only Rs 10,054 crores only which is only 0.46 percent of the total expenditure for centre funded projects.

The deficiency of funds has also raised questions on the government plans of expanding agriculture education. Due to insufficient allocation of funds, the projects to transform the three agricultural Universities of the country have remained confined to files.

Taking serious note of the delay in the establishment of Central Agriculture University in Badapani (Meghalaya), Pusa in Bihar and Bundelkhand in Uttar Pradesh, the Standing Committee rebuked the government.

According to the committee, due to fund deficiency, not only the agriculture education and research has been affected, but the plans for the expansion of framing sector have suffered a serious jolt.

Presently, there are 589 Agriculture Science centre in the country. Under 11th five year plan, the numbers were to be increased to 997. But as informed by the Ministry of Agriculture, fund deficit is the biggest stumbling block in setting infrastructure for these centres.

Besides, the existing centres lack facility of hostels, staff quarters and equipments to train the farmers as to how they can increase the crop yield.

JPN/Bureau