The provision of private-public participation (PPP) in research at the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) should be withdrawn, said the Bharatiya Kisan Sangh (BKS), an offshoot of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS).
“ICAR has announced that it would conduct research in partnership with private agencies even when senior scientists of the organisation are engaged in research work for years, which has benefited farmers. With such a proposal, the scientists who have been working for a long time with the government, are feeling uncomfortable, insecure and helpless,” said the BKS.
The right-wing farmer organisation said that with the PPP provision, all research will go to big corporate houses. They will work in favour of industries and not poor farmers, it said.
“The BKS hence demands that the government intervene and give sufficient funds to the ICAR for research. Then there will be no need for private participation,” said BKS general secretary Mohini Mohan Mishra.
‘Allocate more funds’
“Our scientists can do miracles but the lack of funds stops them,” the BKS’s resolution passed at its recent meeting in Hubbali said. The BKS demanded that the government allocate 3% of the GDP to agricultural research in the interest of farmers.
“India, the country with the largest population, has become self-sufficient in agriculture sector – from being an importer to an exporter The amount spent on agricultural research by other countries is far bigger. In Brazil, the government spends 1.28% of their GDP on such research, while China spends 2.06%, Israel 4.27%, Japan 3.29%, and America 2.74%. However, being an agricultural country, India only spends 0.62% on the same,” the BKS statement said.
The BKS said that it welcomes the National Research Foundation Bill passed by the Central government on August 7, 2023, but wants a separate arrangement for agriculture research. “The order of partnership with private institutions (research work) should be cancelled with immediate effect and the government itself should provide continuous and adequate funds in the field of research,” the resolution adds.