Saturday, Apr 16, 2005
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SAGESPEAK: M.K. Bhan, Secretary, Union Department of Biotechnology, delivering the convocation address at the University of Agricultural Sciences in Dharwad on Friday.
DHARWAD: M.K. Bhan, Secretary to the Government of India, Department of Biotechnology, on Friday called for a policy to promote, nurture and reward innovation.
Dr. Bhan was delivering the convocation address at the University of Agricultural Sciences (UAS), here.
In all, 465 students were conferred with degrees at the convocation. They included 23 who were conferred with Ph.Ds. and 143 postgraduates. The Governor, T.N. Chaturvedi, presided over the function. K. Srinivasa Gowda, Minister for Agriculture, who is the Pro Chancellor of the university, was present.
The Governor gave away gold medals to meritorious students and incentives and awards to teachers and the research station of the university.
Dr. Bhan said innovation is the key to translating scientific knowledge into useful products and processes. The objective of education is not merely to give information, which is easily available outside the education stream. Education should be able to inculcate the culture and spirit of innovation among students, he said.
Dr. Bhan said it is time to infuse young blood in research organisations. By the time a scientist gets an opportunity and gains experience, he would have crossed the age of 45.
The atmosphere in the universities and academic institutions must be made congenial for young scientists to show their mettle, he said.
There is a need to reduce the bureaucracy's hold over universities. Procedures should be simplified and a suitable environment created for scientists to focus on work.
S.A. Patil, Vice-Chancellor, in his welcome address, said the university plans to open a separate Institute of Organic Farming. He said the university is collaborating with a network project of the Indian Council for Agricultural Research (ICAR) and the State Government.
Dr. Patil said the financial outlay for research had increased to Rs. 50 crores thanks to the projects undertaken in collaboration with different agencies.
Among the research projects under way are a project for food security in South India taken up in collaboration with McGill University; the World Bank project on afforestation in and around the Bellary Thermal Power Station; and two international collaborative projects, one with Cornell University on transgenic brinjal and another with Indonesia on the Dharwad wheat variety, he said. The Vice-Chancellor said the development of three clones resistant to the woolly aphid by one of the Ph.D. students and a staff member of the university has opened new vistas in sugarcane cultivation. The State Government supported the programme in a big way.
The performance of the Dharwad seed unit has been recognised at the all-India level by the ICAR and help up as a role model for other universities in the country. An ultramodern seed processing plant and air-conditioned seed storage godowns will be set up.
The production and distribution of seeds has earned the university Rs. 1 crore.
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