Having underscored the need to address issues to pull out the agricultural economy from problems, President Pratibha Patil on Sunday suggested a Committee of Governors to evolve mutually beneficial models for a farmer-industry partnership, focussing on rain-fed area farming.
The Committee would make suitable recommendations and also prepare a concept paper to bring about an “evergreen revolution to harness the full potential of the agriculture sector,'' the President said in her concluding remarks at the 43rd Governors Conference at the Rashtrapati Bhavan here.
On Saturday, Ms. Patil asked the Governors to come up with new and innovative ideas and experimentations that could lead to an initiative for a second green revolution in dry-land farming considering that 60 per cent of cultivable area was rain-fed.
Education was the other area of focus with Ms. Patil stating that the Governors recommended that they be provided with a climate to discharge statutory duties as Chancellors of State Universities, in a more positive and effective manner, and also in imparting clarity to the expected interface between Governors and Central Universities in general, and as Chief Rectors in particular.
Referring to her recent State visit to Switzerland, the President said she was impressed with the vocational education-industry linkage there and suggested similar attempts here between Industrial Training Institutes and vocational training institutes in order to create a dynamic partnership with the manufacturing and service sectors.
Stressing on the need to increase enrolment in higher education, she said, steps must be taken to use the infrastructure on the existing large campuses of old and new universities, she felt that the capacity of nearly 600 Central/State-funded universities was being under-utilised.
This infrastructure could be upgraded to accommodate more students, to augment the enrolment ratio, without compromising on the quality of education, she said and suggested that India learn from other countries that support a larger density of students on small-sized campuses.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh re-emphasised the major threat to internal security from Left Wing Extremism and said steps to tackle it by sending additional Central forces, raising specialised forces and training the State police in counter-insurgency could be successful only through coordination between the States and the Centre.
On the 5th and 6th Schedules, he said, the Governors had a special responsibility for the administration of Scheduled areas that require further encouragement to participate in the democratic process. He urged the Governors to take an active interest in the implementation of development programmes for the Scheduled Castes/ the Scheduled Tribes, the Other Backward Classes, religious minorities, women and children.
As Chancellors of State Universities, Dr. Singh said the Governors should take active interest in toning up the quality of administration of higher education and said they had a special responsibility to ensure that the menace of ragging was rooted out.
Turing to agriculture, he said there was need for focussed research and development in the eastern parts to increase yields.
Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee said implementation of the proposed Food Security Act would be the joint responsibility of the Centre and the States and both would have to work together to procure the required quantity of food grains and ensure their distribution to beneficiaries through an effective delivery system.
Referring to the situation in the North-East, Home Minister P. Chidambaram said, “there has been a dramatic improvement there and stressed that the primary responsibility in fighting Left Wing Extremism lies with the State Governments, with his Ministry extending every possible help.”
Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar, Defence Minister A.K. Antony, Law & Justice and Minority Affairs Minister Salman Khursheed, Tribal Affairs Minister V. Kishore Chandra Deo, Minister of State (independent charge) for Women and Child Development Krishna Tirath, Minister of State for Human Resource Development D. Purandeswari and Minister of State for External Affairs Preneet Kaur made presentations, a Rashtrapati Bhavan release said.