Stressing that scientists should be given a free hand and encouragement through proper financing for their research, he said scientists, especially agricultural scientists, have to play a vital role, taking into account the developments taking place in the field worldwide.
The Minister was speaking at the valedictory of the three-day fifth international conference of the Asian Federation for Information Technology in Agriculture here.
Regretting that the extension service of the Department of Agriculture had become defunct, Mr Rajasekharan said that in the 11th plan, emphasis would be laid on revitalising the department.
''The extension departments, which are supposed to carry the research outcomes to the farmers, have totally failed in their duty, especially in State Agriculture Departments,'' he added.
He said that due to the downfall mainly in agriculture production, the country could not achieve the targeted eight per cent GDP in the tenth plan and hence Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had stressed the need for encouraging agriculture sector to achieve ten per cent GDP targeted during the 11th plan period. The agriculture sector contributed to four per cent of the national GDP.
Karnataka Agriculture and Horticulture Principal Secretary A Ramaswamy, in his welcome address, said Karnataka was the first State to come out with an agriculture policy, approved by the Cabinet yesterday. The provisions of the policy were kept open to include recommendations of the National Agriculture Policy, expected on April one, 2007, and the National Commission on Agriculture.
He said that according to a study, the net income of farmers had stagnated in the last ten years and their indebtedness was rising due to the big gap between demand for finance and availability of fund for agriculture. This gap had forced some farmers to commit suicide as they could not repay the loan taken from private financiers.
UNI MSP GD SKB1920