Preventing agro brain drain and attracting youth to farming
The Vice President of India, Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu today called for measures to prevent agro brain drain and attract educated youth to take up farming as a profession. He opined that the future of Indian agriculture lies in the hands of technology-driven farming practices, powered by well- informed and modern-minded farmers.
The Vice President made these remarks while virtually inaugurating the National Dialogue on “Indian Agriculture Towards 2030: Pathways for Enhancing Farmers’ Income, Nutritional Security and Sustainable Food Systems” organised by NITI Aayog, Ministry of Agriculture and Food & Agriculture Organisation (FAO).
Expressing concern over the increasing lack of interest in farming among the educated youth, Shri Naidu opined that changing socio-economic milieu, increasing agri-input costs and diminishing returns have turned agriculture into a less preferred profession among the youth.
He called for establishing strong lab–farm links and farmer–industry interaction to turn the farmers into ‘agri-entrepreneurs’.
Creation of ‘Business Incubation Centres’ would also be a step in the right direction for aspiring farmers in this field, the Vice President added.
Stating that agriculture input costs have gone up significantly, Shri Naidu urged the policymakers and other stakeholders to work towards reducing the input costs. Towards this end, he also suggested promoting organic farming in a big way.
Stressing the need to move away from chemical farming, he said, “Organic farming is beneficial for all—the farmers, the consumers and the environment. He called for making organic agriculture a mass movement not only for a ‘wealthy nation’ but also a ‘healthy nation’.
Listing the four important sets of challenges faced by Indian Agriculture, the Vice President said the foremost among these is the challenge of food security and better nutrition for our growing population. “In fact, the time has come to switch the focus of our approach from food security to nutrition security”, he added.
The second challenge, Shri Naidu underlined, was the challenge of sustainability of the natural resources—land, water, forests and so on. He wanted increased focus on technologies that increase water use efficiency.
Terming climate change the third major area of concern, the Vice President said that agriculture needs to be made resilient in the face of the grave impact of climate change. This needs to be addressed with an increasing sense of urgency and awareness, he said.
Lastly, Shri Naidu said that the farmer and the farm-worker are at the heart of the agricultural landscape and deserve total, undivided attention. “It is our moral responsibility to ensure that we give him a bright future that recognises the blood and sweat of our annadata which constitutes Indian agriculture”, he said.
Nomination of members to the National Startup Advisory Council
The Central Government has now decided to nominate the non-official members on the National Startup Advisory Council representing various stakeholders such as founders of successful startups, veterans who have grown and scaled companies in India, persons capable of representing interest of investors into startups, persons capable of representing interests of incubators and accelerators, representatives of associations of stakeholders of startups and representatives of industry associations.
Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) had constituted the ‘National Startup Advisory Council’ vide Notification No.5(24)/2019-Startup India dated 21st January 2020 to advise the Government on measures needed to build a strong ecosystem for nurturing innovation and startups in the country to drive sustainable economic growth and generate large scale employment opportunities. The council shall, inter alia, suggest measures to:
- Foster a culture of innovation amongst citizens and students in particular;
- Promote innovation in all sectors of economy across the country, including semi-urban and rural areas;
- Support creative and innovative ideas through incubation and research and development to transform them into valuable products, processes or solutions to improve productivity and efficiency;
- Create an environment of absorption of innovation in industry;
- Facilitate public organizations to assimilate innovation with a view to improving public service delivery;
- Promote creation, protection and commercialization of intellectual property rights;
- Make it easier to start, operate, grow and exit businesses by reducing regulatory compliances and costs;
- Promote ease of access to capital for startups;
- Incentivize domestic capital for investments into startups;
- Mobilize global capital for investments in Indian startups;
- Keep control of startups with original promoters.
- Provide access to global markets for Indian startups.
Government of India has decided to celebrate the 125th Birth Anniversary year of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose in a befitting manner at national and international level, beginning from 23rd January 2021. A High Level Committee, headed by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, has been constituted for deciding the programs, and to supervise and guide the commemoration.
In order to honour and remember Netaji’s indomitable spirit and selfless service to the nation, Government of India has decided to celebrate his birthday on the 23rd day of January every year as “PARAKRAM DIWAS” to inspire people of the country, especially the youth, to act with fortitude in the face of adversity as Netaji did, and to infuse in them a spirit of patriotic fervour.
Gazette Notification for declaring 23rd January as “ParakramDiwas” has been published.
Exercise Desert Knight-21
Indian Air Force and French Air and Space Force (Armée de l’Air et de l’Espace) will conduct a bilateral Air exercise, Ex Desert Knight-21 at Air Force Station Jodhpur from 20 to 24 Jan 21.
French side will participate with Rafale, Airbus A-330 Multi-Role Tanker Transport (MRTT), A-400M Tactical Transport aircraft and approximately 175 personnel. The Indian Air Force aircraft participating in the exercise will include Mirage 2000, Su-30 MKI, Rafale, IL-78 Flight Refuelling Aircraft, AWACS and AEW&C aircraft.
The exercise marks an important milestone in the series of engagements between the two Air forces. As part of Indo-French defence cooperation, Indian Air Force and French Air and Space Force have held six editions of Air Exercises named ‘Garuda’, the latest being in 2019 at Air Force Base Mont-de-Marsan, France. As measures to further the existing cooperation, the two forces have been gainfully utilising available opportunities to conduct ‘hop-exercises’