Prof. Mehraj-ud-Din concerned over declining agri production in JK
Srinagar, June 29: Central University of Kashmir (CUK) Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Mehraj ud Din Mir today expressed grave concern over the increasing suicides of farmers across the country and asked the students and scholars of Economics to undertake a thorough study to get to the genesis of it.
“Most of the impoverished farmers commit suicide as they are unable to clear their debt after they fail to produce large quantity of crops due to drought in their areas,” Prof. Mehraj ud Din Mir said during his inaugural address on the 10thStatistics Day, organised by CUK’s Department of Economics, in association with the National Sample Survey Office (NSSO) (Field Operations Division), Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation, Government of India, at varsity’s Nowgam-I Academic block. This year’s theme on Statistics Day was “Agriculture and Farmer’s Welfare With Reference to the State of Jammu and Kashmir.”
He said that Jammu and Kashmir was the only state wherein there were no suicides by the farmers till date. Prof. Mehraj ud Din Mir said that agriculture production in the Valley has been severely hit due to the conversion of agriculture land into residential colonies and quitting of farming by the farmers.
CUK V-C underscored the need for mutual cooperation between NSSO and Economics Department of the varsity for undertaking surveys on different issues and problems confronting the people at large. “Without proper surveys and data collection, the planning cannot be proper and effective and the benefits of schemes framed by the concerned agencies wont percolate to those in need,” he added.
NSSO Director, Mr. Altaf Hussain Haji, Dean Social Sciences and Head of the Department Economics, Prof. G. M Bhat, Director Agriculture, Mr. Showkat Ahmed Beigh, Former director general Economics and Statistics, Mr. G A Qureshi, Deans of various Schools, Heads and Coordinators of different departments, officials from NSSO, other faculty members of the varsity and students were also present on the occasion.
In his address, Dean Social Sciences, and Head of the Department, Economics, Prof. G. M Bhat, said the day is being celebrated in the honour of Late statistician and planner, Prof. Prasanta Chandra Mahalanobis. Highlighting the contributions made by Prof. Mahalanobis in the field of economic planning and statistical development, Prof. Bhat said, the deceased statistician was the architect of the Second 5-Year Plan of the country. He was also a pioneer of large scale sample design where he made it that instead of enumerating the data, if we go for sample studies, the results will be more reliable and accurate with cost efficiency, reduced time and high quality.
Referring to the suicides committed by farmers in different parts of the country due to distress, Prof. Bhat said that as per one of the survey, the suicides by the farmers’ ranks at number three in India. “The suicide rate among housewives with 20 per cent is ranked number one and suicides among self-employed people, which is 17 per cent, is ranked second,” he said.
Director Agriculture, Mr. Showkat Ahmed Beigh, who was the Guest of Honor while speaking on the occasion said, the statistics provides us the basis for decision making and planning. “In the absence of statistics, our plans will be haphazard and decision making would be flawed,” he said. Mr Beigh said statistics is an important subject in agriculture and the State Agriculture department has a separate statistics section.
Commenting on the theme of the Statistics Day, he said the agriculture production in Kashmir has increased substantially during the past several years. “The advent of hybrid seeds, improved practices and advanced technology has changed the agriculture scenario and there has been substantial increase in the production of all crops,” he said, adding that the department has also procured several mobile vans for testing of soil and checking its fertility.
In his welcome address, NSSO Director, Mr. Altaf Hussain Haji, said the aim and objective of celebrating the “Statistics Day” every year is to create awareness among the public regarding the role of Statistics for planning and policy formulation. He said that NSSO in its survey “Situation Assessment Survey of Agricultural Households,” conducted from Ist of January 2013 to 31st of December, 2013, found that the agricultural households in rural Jammu and Kashmir was 1.1282 million which were about 82.08 percent of the total estimated rural households of the J&K. “As per results of the report of agriculture activity of J&K shows that the principal sources of income is 30.4 per cent of agriculture households (cultivation 29.3 per cent), livestock activity (one per cent), and other agriculture activities (0.1 per cent),” he said.
Senior Staff Officer Srinagar, Mrs Kavita Singh conducted the programme proceedings while as Statistical Officer Baramulla, Mr. Tariq Ahmad Tenga, proposed the vote of thanks.
Later a technical session was held, in which presentations were made by the participants including faculty members and students.