The President of India, Shri Ram Nath Kovind, graced and addressed the 56th convocation of the Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI).

Speaking on the occasion, the President said that IARI played a critical role in the Green Revolution that changed the course of food production in the country. He was happy to note that students from 14 countries are being educated in this institution. And that IARI is helping in the development of agricultural capacities and research in neighbouring countries.

The President said that Mahatma Gandhi had observed that agriculture is the backbone of the Indian economy. This is relevant even today. Enhancement of income of farmers and overall development in rural areas is the priority of the entire country. In this endeavour, students of IARI could contribute through innovations. He stated that there is a relative shortage of land and water resources, in proportion to our country's population. Therefore, there is a need to continuously innovate to increase productivity.

The President said that IARI should start 'Innovation Centres' or 'Incubation Centres' to help students to launch start-up ventures in the agricultural sector. There are several schemes of the Central and State Governments that offer special incentives to enterprises engaged in the agriculture sector. There are also many venture capital funds that can come forward to invest in agriculture-based enterprises. Students should use these opportunities, set up their ventures and become job creators.

The President gave away the Gold Medal to Dr Anuradha, as best student of the year.

IARI also awards merit medals and best student of the year award apart from five prestigious awards namely, Shri Hari Krishna Shastri Memorial award, Rao Bahadur Dr. B. Viswanath Memorial award, Dr. B. P. Pal Memorial award, Hooker award and Best Teacher award. On this occasion 19 newly developed varieties of the crops, vegetables, fruits and flowers was released.

The President also released 19 varieties, out of which  14 vegetable varieties (onion-Pusa Riddhi, bunching onion-Pusa Soumya, broad bean-Pusa Udit, summer squash-Pusa Pasand, cucumber-Pusa Barkha, ridge gourd-Pusa Nutan, cauliflower-Pusa Snowball Hybrid-1, Pusa Kartiki, carrot-Pusa Rudhira & Pusa Asita, radish-Pusa Shweta, Pusa Jamuni & Pusa Gulabi, bitter gourd-Pusa Rasdar & Pusa Purvi) and carrot hybrid – Pusa Vasuda were notified and two new hybrids, viz., bitter gourd - Pusa Hybrid 4 and sponge gourd Pusa Shrestha and five new varieties viz., okra - Pusa Bhindi-5, bathua - Pusa Green, garden pea - Pusa Prabal, brinjal - Pusa Safed Baingan-1 and Pusa Hara Baingan-1 were released during the year.

One rose variety (Pusa Mahak), one gladiolus variety (Pusa Sinduri), two chrysanthemum varieties (Pusa Guldasta and Pusa Shwet) and two marigold varieties (Pusa Bahar and Pusa Deep) were released during 2017. The grape variety, Pusa Aditi has been released for commercial cultivation in NCR region.

Chander Mohan

Krishi Jagran

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