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Agriculture is the basic foundation for economic development

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Prof. Y.S Negi, a PhD from University of California, is now the Dean of the School of Agriculture in Shoolini University. A specialist in applied economics, Prof. Negi has been associated with more than 25 research projects in the field of applied economics.

Prof. Y.S Negi, a PhD from University of California, is now the Dean of the School of Agriculture in Shoolini University. A specialist in applied economics, Prof. Negi has been associated with more than 25 research projects in the field of applied economics. He has also undergone a course on ‘Forest Management Planning for Sustainable Livelihoods’ conducted by TFRG (Tropical Forestry Research Group) at Regents College, Oxford, UK, and training on ‘Gender and Organizational Change for Sustainable Mountain Development in the Hindu-Kush Himalayas’ at ICIMOD, Kathmandu, Nepal. He talked to Khyaati Sharma on a wide variety of topics. Here are the excerpts from the interview.

Shoolini University

Tell us a little about your professional experiences and how long you have been working with Shoolini?

I started my professional career with Agro Economical Research Centre at HP University, Shimla as a Research Assistant and then shortly after that, I got selected in Agriculture University, Palampur as an Assistant Professor and worked there till 1985. Then I opted for University of Horticulture and Forestry in Nauni. After around four years, I got selected in University of California and completed my PhD. I came back to Nauni and joined the Department of Social Sciences. I visited various places like Oxford (UK), Pakistan, Nepal and Thailand for my official works. I joined Shoolini in June 2015 as a professor in the faculty of Management Sciences and Liberal Arts and now I am heading the Department of Agriculture as Dean.

How is the response of the students in the recently launched School of Agriculture?

The response is great. We were allotted 60 seats for B.Sc. Agriculture and all the seats were full within half the admission session. I am really confident and enthusiastic after seeing the response and I can assure you that this programme will definitely be a leading programme.

What is so unique about the School of Agriculture at Shoolini ?

There are a certain set of guidelines by ICAR (Indian Council of Agriculture and Research) which needs to be fulfilled. We have fully equipped labs and classrooms. Additionally students are encouraged to do more practical work as a result of which they are sent to the fields every Saturday. Agriculture has moved forward and has now become technological and smarter. Agriculture is the basic foundation of economic development. This is one sector that has not only seen immense growth but has also been the reason for growth of various other sectors.

The primary source of livelihood in our country is Agriculture. How has agriculture broadened its roots over the past time?

We used to think of agriculture in a very traditional way but nowadays with new technologies and techniques that the farmers have developed, they are producing much more than what they were producing back in 1950s. Agriculture not only contributes to food production but rather has diversified its roots through food processing, agri-business, import and export. Hence, it is a new area where students can explore much and can even build their own start –ups. Agriculture is not merely a source of livelihood but a way of life.

Is this diversification good for the nation as a whole?

We have diversified not only in production but also in utilisation of the final produce of agriculture and hence it is good. In farming, if you diversify the produce, you get different products which hold good market value too. Diversification plays an important role in increasing farmer’s income and their standard of living as well. Diversification and automation in agriculture can transform India into a developed Nation.

What does leadership mean to you? How do you categorise your leadership style?

To me, leadership is valid if I am able to walk with my faculty and students. Also, it is really important to accommodate their concerns in the whole programme which is a collective effort. My aim is to see majority of the students of my department clearing the JRF examination after their 4 years of degree and it would be a test of our capabilities also to see how the students are polished in our institution. Also, majority of the students should get admitted in good institutions including Shoolini, if we start up with the masters’ programme, for their higher studies. These all things would be a result of leadership that I aspire to have.

What is your message to students?

Students should enjoy their life keeping in mind their goals and responsibilities. It is very necessary to keep a balance between everything and if so happens, you will shine like a star. You should not forget that you are here for a purpose. Go to the library, read good books and at the same time, have fun too. For agriculturists who have recently joined Shoolini believe in yourself and us too.