Assam Agricultural University (AAU) Vice-Chancellor Bidyut Chandan Deka on Friday announced an ambitious action plan to generate Rs 100 crore revenue in the next five years for the university.

The plan will help in the holistic development of and transformation of Assam’s rural economy, the VC said.

AAU Vice-Chancellor Deka in his annual New Year’s address at the MC Das Memorial auditorium in the university campus on Friday announced his 17-point action plan which would unravel over 25 years.

The vision includes the adoption of cluster of villages under ‘Our Village, Our Pride’ programme by teams of teachers, the setting up of a market-related database, an online exam centre, production of seeds, organic research and student mentoring.

Elaborating on the ‘Our Village, Our Pride’ programme, he said it would do away with the criticism that scientists were not directly involved with farmers.

“About 150 teams of 5 teachers each including those in the 23 Krishi Vigyaan Kendras in the state would be formed and they would adopt a cluster of four or five villages.

“The villages would be studied in detail and connected with the required departments for intervention in different areas.

“For the programme to go on stream, the state has agreed on principle to give more than Rs 14 crore over a five year period, the first year would require about Rs 2.4 crore and 10 per cent annual increment thereafter totalling more than Rs 14 crore in five years,” he said.

The whole programme is to make the teachers go into direct mode and in turn, they can also learn from the farmers and base their research on this.

“In each cluster at least 15-20 youths would be identified and mentored to be entrepreneurs. They would motivate the villagers an help in transforming the village economy,” he further said.

Regarding the data base it would help the farmers ascertain prices in the district, state, region and the country for any particular food item and would be based on demand and supply.

“In an open market now the farmer could get to know where his product could be sold in the country at the highest price and the portal would be updated on a daily basis by our researchers,” Deka said.

“The data would be stored in a server and a portal would be developed for the farmers to access free of cost but not all data which would be stored and sold as per requirement to different institutes, it would serve the society on one hand and earn revenues for us on the other,” Deka further said.

The university was in talks with the World Bank for funding for the data base.

Revenue would also be earned by supplying seeds and planting material of different crops in bulk. The Centre would buy seeds developed by the university.

Regarding the online exam centre it would be like the one in ICAR, Delhi.

The plan would be to install more than 100 computers on the topmost floor of the AAU central library which would be outsourced for holding of competitive exams and the university would benefit from the rental.

The vision also included segregating and mentoring students after completion of one year in academics.

“Students as per their aptitude and interest would be encouraged to go into teaching, research, civil service, banking or to the field. They would then be suited to the work and not be square pegs in round holes as is often the case now,” Deka said.

Another ambitious plan is to make AAU the organic hub of South East Asia.

“As envisioned by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in making the region organic, we are planning extensive research in this line,” he added.

Soil and climate change research and how to increase production of those crops which did not grow well in the acidic soil of the region despite fertiliser inputs was also part of the vision.

Making integrated farming models for small and marginal farmers who had less than 7.5 bighas of land and were in majority in the state, was also being planned so that a family of five could be sustained well in such small holdings.

A database of former teachers, students was also planned as well as a dedicated portal for pensioners to solve their problems was also on the anvil.

Smita Bhattacharyya

Smita Bhattacharyya is Northeast Now Correspondent in Jorhat. She can be reached at: triptyaddy@gmail.com