Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) Science & Technology; Minister of State (Independent Charge) Earth Sciences; MoS PMO, Personnel, Public Grievances, Pensions, Atomic Energy and Space, Dr Jitendra Singh today said that the Department of Biotechnology has funded fifty-one (51) Biotech-Kisan hubs out of which forty-four (44) are operational. These hubs are located in 15 agro-climatic zones of the country and are conducting activities in 169 districts.
In a written reply to a question in the Lok Sabha, Dr Jitendra Singh said, Department of Biotechnology (DBT) is implementing farmers-centric Mission Programme ‘Biotech-Krishi Innovation Science Application Network’ (Biotech-KISAN). The programme connects Indian farmers with best scientists and institutions.
The Minister said, the aim of the programme is to work with small and marginal farmers for better agriculture productivity through scientific intervention and evolving best farming practices. The core activities of the programme are understanding the problems of the local farmer, scouting available technologies/solutions, demonstration and scale-up programmes, creation of strong Scientists-Farmers Interaction Platform; training programmes for the farmer and immersion programmes for scientists, communication through radio/TV and social media, thematic fellowship for selected farmers and special solution-driven thematic fellowships to women farmers.
The intended benefits of the programme are to increase farmer’s income by technological interventions and develop bio-based enterprises in rural areas. The programme has benefitted over four lakhs farmers (directly or indirectly) by increasing their agriculture output and income. Programme is also successful in developing 200 entrepreneurs in rural areas. The Department has till date provided support of Rs. 9554.146 lakhs to the programme.
Moreover, the Ministries/Departments of Government of India are implementing various programmes for direct linkage between science laboratories and farmers in country. Department of Agricultural Research and Education (DARE)/Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) is supporting 731 Krishi Vigyan Kendras (KVKs) and implementing programmes like Mera Gaon Mera Gaurav (MGMG), Scheduled Castes Sub Plan (SCSP) programme and farmer FIRST. The Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) laboratories CIMAP (Central Institute of Medicinal & Aromatic Plants) and National Botanical Research Institute, Lucknow (NBRI) provides technical support and advice to farmers through training programmes and skill development programmes on various aspects of agriculture, science and technology. In addition to Biotech-Kisan, Department is also supporting farmers through its societal programme.