Message from Vice Chancellor
The agricultural productivity in eastern India comprising West Bengal, Assam, Bihar, Jharkhand, Odisha, Eastern Utter Pradesh and Chhattisgarh is dismally low despite adequate availability of natural resources required for higher production in the region. Intensive and erratic rainfall leading to frequent floods, water logging, draughts, the complicated credit delivery system, lack of assured irrigation facility, farm mechanization, low water holding capacity of soils, poor seed replacement rate and lack of storage, marketing facility and rural connectivity have been adversely affecting the crop production and productivity in this part of the country. Rice is the major crop of the region (sown in 63.3% of the gross cropped area) with average productivity of 1248 kg/ha, which is less than the national average (1917 kg/ha). Maize, pulses, oilseeds and wheat are other important crops of the region but productivity of these crops too is much below the national average. The ever increasing food requirement for country’s burgeoning population, flattening yields in traditional bread basket (Punjab and Haryana), climate-change-related production losses, oversubscribed groundwater resources and rising oil, transport and production costs prompted the Government of India to look at eastern region having fertile soil and abundant rainfall. And the Government launched a sub scheme ‘Extending Green Revolution in Eastern Region’ under the Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana (RKVY) about two years ago to exploit the untapped potentials of this region. Allocation for this scheme during 2011-12 was Rs 400 crore which has been increased to Rs 1000 crore for 1012-13.
Under the scheme, technology demonstrations of rice under five agro-ecological sub regions namely rainfed uplands, rainfed lowlands (shallow lowland, medium, deep water) and irrigated rice and zero tillage demonstrations under wheat in compact blocks of 1000 hectares covering nearly 4 lakh hectares have been undertaken in 97 non-NFSM districts of the region. The objective of the demonstration is to improve seed replacement rate, promote line sowing/ planting coupled with promotion of plant nutrient and plant protection technologies. Under the asset development exercise, 100% assistance for water management works like construction of shallow tube wells, dug wells/ bore wells and 50% assistance (with limitations) on pump sets and zero till seed drill are being given. Besides, identified progressive farmers would be provided two drum seeders free of cost for facilitating the rice lines. A three-tier monitoring structure involving central steering committee under the chairmanship of Secretary (A&C), state level monitoring team for each state under the chairmanship of Additional Secretary/ Joint Secretary of the Department of Agriculture and district level monitoring teams headed by District Agriculture Officer would ensure the delivery of intended technologies to the farmers.
In Jharkhand, construction of irrigation and rain water harvesting structures in the forms of tube wells and dug wells, intensive cultivation of rice and pulses in 17 non-NFSM districts, promotion of zero tillage for moisture conservation, maize and wheat development programme in all 24 districts, launching of millets mission, use of soil amendments and bridging knowledge gap through training and mass media support are the main strategies adopted for augmenting production and productivity in the state. Our 10 scientists are involved in technical implementation of the scheme at various locations across the state. The efforts have started yielding results as the rice harvest from kharif surged to an estimated 100 million tones during 2011. The dream of second version of green revolution in India’s east can turn into reality only with the continued hard work of planners, farmers, development officials, scientists and extension functionaries as it is just the beginning of a long journey.
M. P. Pandey