Agriculture has been the mainstay of Indian economy since ages. The science and art of agriculture has many references in the Vedic literature and the ancient history of the mankind. The agriculture sector in India provides livelihood to about 52% of the population of the country and contributes about 15% to the Gross Domestic Product. Trained human resource has been the key factor behind the Green, White, Blue and Yellow Revolutions, that has led India to become self-reliant in food and becoming a fast growing economy. Knowledge based, input-use efficient, eco-friendly, and high tech precision agriculture has been the next stage for which efforts have been directed by Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) and Agricultural Universities (AUs) in planning, designing and executing the national agricultural educational programmes. Considering the importance of Agricultural Education, University Education Commission under the Chairmanship of Dr. S. Radhakrishnan, recommended the establishment of independent Rural Universities in the country in the year 1948. As a result of this recommendation, first State Agricultural University (SAU) was established in 1960 at Pantnagar (Nainital) on the pattern of the Land Grant Colleges of the United States. The University Grants Commission accorded the status of Deemed-to-be-University (DU) to Indian Agricultural Research Institute, New Delhi in 1958 which became the first ICAR Institute as Deemed University conducting postgraduate teaching and research. Today, the country has a large ICAR-AU system with a total of 73 Agricultural Universities (AUs) comprising of 61 State Agricultural, Veterinary, Horticulture, and Fisheries Universities, 3 Central Agricultural Universities ( CAU, Imphal; DR.RPCAU Pusa and RLBCAU, Jhansi), 5 DUs and 4 Central Universities having agricultural faculty (BHU, AMU, Viswa Bharati and Nagaland University) awarding various kinds of degrees in different disciplines of agricultural, veterinary and allied sciences. At present there are 57 (Tentative) Accredited Agricultural Universities (AUs) under ICAR-AU system under which admissions would be granted in accredited programmes. Agricultural education is also imparted in some traditional universities of the country. Agricultural education system is producing invaluable human resource and every year about 15,000 graduates, 11,000 Masters and 2,500 Ph.D. sare admitted. The Under Graduate degree in 11 subjects of agriculture and allied sciences and Master’s degree in about 97 subjects, awarded by the Universities associated with the ICAR are well recognized and accepted for higher education globally. All undergraduate degrees in the disciplines of Agricultural Sciences have been declared as professional degrees. Some of the graduates also start their own business units including the Agri. Clinics and Agro Service Centres. For enhancing the employability and entrepreneurial ability of the graduates, in the revised curricula, the student READY(Rural and Entrepreneurship Awareness Development Yojana) including RAWE and Experiential Learning have been introduced for one year, out of the entire four years duration of UG degree programmes. Following are some of the sectors providing placement to the agricultural graduates:-
The growth achieved in agricultural sector has been attributed to the concerted efforts of skilled human resource developed through AES. After independence, from the state of deficiency, country has reached to the stage of self-sufficiency in food grain production. It has enabled the country to increase production of food grains by 4-fold, horticultural crops by 6-fold, fish by 9-fold (marine 5-fold and inland 17-fold), milk by 6-fold, and eggs by 27-fold since 1950-51; thus making a visible impact on the national food and nutritional security.The interest of girl candidates towards agricultural education is rising and during 2017 about 43% female candidates were admitted through AIEEA-UG. Presently, efforts are being directed by the ICAR and Agricultural Universities to impart necessary skills and confidence among agricultural graduates to start and operate their own business units through first-hand experience of running Model Farms and Pilot-Plants during the course of study. Experiential learning, Rural Agricultural Work Experience are some special features of agricultural education in the country. ICAR provides annual grants to AUs for infrastructural development, scholarships/fellowship schemes and monitoring system through Accreditation norms for quality assurance. Besides, the teaching quality is also stressed through continuous national and international training programmes for the faculty. In summary, Agricultural Education could be termed as one of the most relevant education in the country for growth and sustainable development. The ICAR and associated Agricultural Universities would like to congratulate you for choosing the area of agricultural sciences for your education and career and wish all the success in your life.