The President Droupadi Murmu graced and addressed the 62nd Convocation of the Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI) at PUSA, New Delhi on Friday. Union Minister of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare Shri Arjun Munda was the Guest of Honour. Secretary DARE and Director General, ICAR, Dr. Himanshu Pathak, Director, ICAR-IARI, Dr. A. K. Singh and Dean & Joint Director (Education) Dr. Anupama Singh were also present on the occasion.
In her address, the President extended her congratulations to all postgraduate and doctoral degree recipients and acknowledged the faculty’s excellence in research and academics. She applauded IARI’s role in propelling India’s agricultural prowess on the global stage through technological advancements, pioneering achievements in crop production, and development of highly skilled human resources for addressing emerging agricultural challenges. She highlighted Indian Agricultural Research Institute’s crucial role in significantly boosting agricultural export earnings while ensuring sustainable food security, nutrition, and livelihoods for the Indian populace. Furthermore, the institute is actively striving to achieve India’s goal of self-reliance in oilseeds and pulses.
Droupadi Murmu said that it is heartening to learn of the institute’s steadfast commitment to support the grassroots-level farmer through various extension programs such as Mera Gaon Mera Gaurav, voluntary initiatives, and Pusa Samachar, coupled with direct technical assistance provided by the institute’s scientists in farmers’ fields. She said that “I am immensely pleased to note the institute’s dedicated efforts toward evolving into a global university alongside its research endeavors.”
During the convocation ceremony, the President presented IARI merit medals to 6 M.Sc. students and 6 Ph.D. students. She also conferred the prestigious IARI Best Student Award 2023,NABARD-Professor VL Chopra Gold Medal-2023. Dr. H.K. Jain Memorial Young Scientist awards for the year 2023. A total of 543 students, hailing from India and various other countries, who pursued studies at IARI under international programs, were conferred with Post Graduate Studies during the convocation.
The different varieties of crops were also released. In Last year the institute had developed and released a total of 30 high yielding varieties consisting of 25 cultivars of field crops, and 5 of vegetable and fruit crops.
Dr. A. K. Singh, Director of IARI, provided comprehensive insights into the institute’s advancements in wheat and Basmati rice varieties. Currently, IARI’s wheat varieties cover approximately 9 million hectares, contributing about 40 million tons of wheat to the nation’s granary. He has also highlighted that:
- In 2023 alone, IARI introduced five new bread wheat varieties tailored for different wheat zones across India. Notable among these are the MAS-derived variety, HD 3437, renowned for its resistance to leaf and stripe rusts, alongside HD 3386 and HD 3388, well-suited for timely sown irrigated conditions in the North Western Plain zone and North Eastern Plain zone, respectively. IARI holds a global leadership position in Basmati rice variety development, with varieties such as Pusa Basmati 1121, Pusa Basmati 1718 and Pusa Basmati 1509 dominating over 95% of the Basmati rice area in India, contributing significantly to foreign exchange earnings, amounting to Rs. 40,000 crores during 2023-2024.
- Improved Basmati rice varieties, including Pusa Basmati 1847, Pusa Basmati 1885, and Pusa Basmati 1886, possessing inherent resistance to bacterial blight and blast diseases, are expected to further bolster export revenues while minimizing agrochemical usage.
- IARI has improved the aromatic short grain rice landrace, “Kalanamak,” indigenous to eastern Uttar Pradesh, releasing “Pusa Narendra Kalanamak 1,” which is poised to revolutionize the profitability of rice farming in the region.
- As part of the ‘International Year of Millets’ 2023, IARI introduced a biofortified pearl millet hybrid, Pusa 1801, enriched with iron and zinc, aimed at addressing nutritional deficiencies nationwide.
- A video-based extension model called “PusaSamachar” has been devised to provide agro-advisories to remote farmers.
Dr. Anupama Singh, serving as the Dean and Joint Director of Education, highlighted that under the aegis of an IARI mega university, admissions have commenced in various ICAR institutes, with the establishment of 16 hubs in Assam, Baramati, Bengaluru, Bhopal, Cuttack, Hyderabad, Jharkhand, Jodhpur, Karnal, Kolkata, Lucknow, Nagpur, Patna, Raipur, Ranchi, and Shillong. IARI’s excellence is acknowledged globally, playing a pivotal role in the establishment of the Afghanistan National Agricultural Sciences and Technology University (ANASTU) in Kandahar, Afghanistan. Notable developments include the inauguration of the International Hostel ‘Madhumas’ on July 3, 2023, equipped with modern amenities. Union Minister of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare, Arjun Munda, recently inaugurated the 500-room Girls’ Hostel ‘Phalguni’ on January 31, 2024.
The Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI), renowned for its pivotal role in spearheading the Green Revolution, remains dedicated to driving advancements in agri cultural production and productivity through its robust research, education, and extension programs.