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Purple revolution originating from J&K offers attractive avenues: Dr Jitendra Singh

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‘Those who have entered the lavender sector are making a fortune out of it’

JAMMU: Union Minister of State (MoS) Ministry of Science and Technology, MoS PMO, Space and Atomic Energy, Dr Jitendra Singh on Thursday said the ‘Purple Revolution’ originating from J&K offers attractive StartUp avenues to people.

He said those who have entered the lavender sector are making a fortune out of it. “But what is required is a wider publicity and awareness about these new opportunities of livelihood rolled out in recent years under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi,” he said.

He said the pace of innovation in India has assumed global scale, but the change of mindset also needs to be encouraged at the same pace, he said.

Addressing a Conference on “Sustainable Agricultural Innovations for Resilient Agri-Food Systems” at the Sher-e-Kashmir University of Agricultural Sciences and Technology (SKUAST) Jammu, Dr Jitendra Singh enumerated a series of pro-agriculture reforms introduced by the Modi government.

He said several pathbreaking decisions like new guidelines for geospatial technology and relaxation in the regulations for developing Drone are also enabling provisions for today’s agriculture entrepreneurs and agri-startups.

The Minister also noted that the government had brought in an amendment in the hundred-year-old Indian Forest Act which was enacted by the British government.

“And following this amendment, the home-grown Bamboo has been exempted from the Forest Act so that the youth could use the versatile properties of Bamboo for agriculture entrepreneurship as well as in other sectors,” he said.

He said that even in our immediate neighbourhood there are huge reserves of bamboo in districts like Kathua and Reasi but these were never adequately explored.

Referring to the theme of the Conference Dr Jitendra Singh said sustainable innovations are the prerequisites for sustainable StartUps and sustainable means of livelihood.

He emphasised the importance of linking with industry right from the beginning and making industry an equal stakeholder so that the research projects are determined by the requirements of the industry.

Dr Jitendra Singh said that in the next 25 years of  Amrti Kal, J&K and several hill territories as well as the Himalayan states will make a significant value addition to build India’s future economy.

“Because these are the territories whose resources have remained under-utilised in the past,” he said.

He said Prime Minister Narendra Modi gave a focussed attention to these areas, due to which they are going to play a pivotal role in placing India on the world pedestal by 2047.

Dwelling on the theme of the conference, Dr Jitendra Singh said, agricultural development is one of the most powerful tools to end economic constraints, boost shared prosperity and feed a projected 9.7 billion people by 2050.

Dr Jitendra Singh said agriculture, forestry, and land use change are responsible for about 25 percent of greenhouse gas emissions and mitigation in the agriculture sector is part of the solution to climate change.

“The world faces a dilemma, whether to stay with those innovations that were successful in yields but risk catastrophic climate change, endangering those yields or to continue with innovations in agricultural technology so that we don’t suffer those risks from climate change,” he said.

Dr Jitendra Singh said the areas which will ensure sustainability of agriculture are genetic innovations for climate-resilient agri-food systems, pest management innovations, biodiversity conservation, carbon neutrality and reducing use of fossil fuels in agriculture.

Dr Jitendra Singh said agriculture has changed dramatically in the 20th century as food and fibre productivity has soared due to new technologies, mechanisation, increased chemical use, specialisation, and government policies that favoured maximising production and reducing food prices.

“But, the challenges of the 21st century ranging from climate changes to pest attacks and conflicts could pose a threat. I am convinced that agricultural scientists are capable enough to help India lead the way,” he said.

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