By Aqib Nazir
Literally, the agrarian policymakers are stuck to their own stunts experimenting with the policy apparatus which have knock-on the agrarian growth and acutely hiccupping the states food production machinery and sickening agrarian sector.
On 23rd Oct 2017, J&K Govt. came up with SRO-442 in J&K’s agriculture production department (APD) which negates the idea of comparative advantage which has cascading effects on J&K’s agriculture and the youth taking agriculture as their carrier options. Since SKUAST is burning its midnight oil in producing students with flagship value innovation traits.
The draconian policy has shrunk the space for the Agri- graduates and Ph.D. degree holders which could have been used as an instrument of change in our food-deficit state. It is also discouraging the youth not to take agriculture as their carrier option because the policy is clubbing the agri-professionals and the diploma holders in the same box, which is disturbing as both have different levels of skill standards.
This has forced now agri-professionals with Ph.D.’s to switch on to other non-agrarian jobs which have detrimental effects in the sector they were specialized and trained for. And during the course of time, they lose all the skills just like the blood loses its clotting properties as a result of the cardio-vascular bypass procedure.
Previously, the entry-level post in non gazetted cadre of JKAPD was JAEO (Junior agriculture extension officer) in which filling was done as 60% by direct recruitment and 40% by promotion, which was good but now halting the entry through JAEO and sugar-coating this change by creation of low-level post, AEA which creates non-agrarian majoritarianism in the department.
The ad-hoc need of the hour is to examine the whole thing and see where the source of discrepancy lay. They can talk to all sides on this like the agri-professionals, Diploma holders, JKAPD officials and figure out the way. But if this remained unchecked the youth are not going to take agriculture as a profession in the future that will further increase distortions in the agriculture sector.
As long as policymakers and government treat jobs as marginal to development, and agri-professionals as marginal to the agriculture sector, the policy failure impacts will strain and tear every weak stitch of the food sector developmental fabric. It is very important to understand that the draconian changes to the chemical constituents of agrarian job policy are hurting the eyes and gripping the heart.
Most policymakers wait for a crisis or they wait for a loss, some tragedy to make up their mind to change. So, my message is why wait.
(Author is student of SKUAST-K Wadura, Sopore)