Role of Agriculture Scientists is vital in farmers’ welfare and country’s progress: NS Tomar

New Delhi, Nov 04: Laying the foundation stone for the new office building of Agricultural Scientists Recruitment Board (ASRB) at the Pusa Campus in New Delhi today, Union Minister for Agriculture Shri Narendra Singh Tomar said that the revamped ASRB shall play a greater role in ensuring availability of capable and qualified Agriculture Scientists through a transparent and streamlined process.

The Minister added that Agriculture is important to the country and Government’s aim is for the betterment of agricultural economy by ensuring increase in agricultural production, farmers’ income and agricultural exports. This aim requires hard working farmers, proper training of farmers, availability of high quality seeds, better equipments, awareness of farmers for judicious use of fertilizers etc.

But along with all these, the valuable contribution by the agricultural scientist is also significant in fulfilling this aim.  To ensure this aim ASRB has its important role in providing ample, able, qualified agriculture scientists at proper time ensuring their proper recruitment process and promotion.

Mr Tomar said that Government’s understanding of the importance of ASRB has given an autonomous status to it through Union Cabinet decision under the able leadership of Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi in August 2018. This brought in reorganization with updated recruitment rules and streamlined selection process of Scientists ensuring seamless intake of Scientists to various institutes across the country.

In its 45 years after inception, the recruitment process of ASRB has been modified several times as and when required, intake has been increased , administrative changes has been made showing the importance given by Government to agricultural research.

In order to ensure the transparency and quality of the selection process the Minister asked the officials not to hold back in utilizing necessary requirements like modern technology if required.  This shall ensure a better recruitment process which will further improve the research and pave the way for improvement of farming sector making a prosperous and strong nation.

Speaking at the event, DG ICAR & Secretary DARE, Shri Trilochan Mohapatra appreciated the efforts of ASRB which has recruited over 6000 scientists to ICAR and other institutes till date. He also hoped that the streamlining of recruitment process after discussions for last two years shall enhance selection of able candidates and ensure no dearth of agricultural Scientists.

Chairman ASRB, Shri A K Mishra said that the focus of recruitment shall be ensuring a 360° evaluation keeping in mind the two major objectives, scientific acumen and research aptitude. He also added that the digitization of recruitment process is being done effectively and already a system is in place for online application. Shri Mishra also added that it is decided that every recruitment process shall be completed within a period of 6 months which shall address the issue of delay in recruitment.

The proposed building will be in a land of 2.05 acres which shall have Ground plus three floors with a built-up area of 4900 sqm and a Green Area of 2730 sqm. Considering the stress on eco-friendly and energy saving measures stipulated for new constructions, the building shall comply with the GRIHA-5 star ratings for Green buildings. The building has been designed in such a way that maximum natural illumination is availed thereby reducing energy requirements.

The energy requirements are to be met by solar panels and provision for rain-water harvesting and waste reduction has been made. The entire facade is to be insulated in such a way to reduce solar heat gain inside the building and AAC blocks are to be used instead of Generic clay bricks for optimum insulation. Low VOC paints and polish are to be used to improve indoor air quality. It is expected that the project shall be handed over within 18 months after formal award of the contract.

The Agricultural Scientists Recruitment Board (ASRB) was initially set up with the approval of the Cabinet at its meeting held on 01.11.1973 as an independent recruiting agency for the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR).

It was established with the main objective of recruitment to all the scientific positions under the ICAR as the UPSC was reluctant to undertake recruitment to the posts of the ICAR on the ground that it was not a Government organization but a registered Society under the Societies Registration Act 1860.

Now with a view to grant an independent status and functional autonomy to the Board, the Cabinet at its meeting held on 1st August, 2018 has approved the ASRB to be delinked from the ICAR and attached it with the Department of Agricultural Research & Education (DARE) under the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare.

For purposes of autonomy, secrecy, accountability and efficient functioning, the Cabinet has inter-alia approved that the Board shall have its own cadre of administrative staff in the secretariat and have independent administrative control, by delinking the existing provision of posting of staff from ICAR headquarters. The position of Secretary of the Board has also been upgraded to that of Joint Secretary to the Government of India.

The revamped Board comprises a Chairman, three Members and Secretary. The major functions of the ASRB is to conduct the ARS / NET Examination, lateral entry selections for all Senior Scientific positions and consider cases of Career Advancement Scheme (CAS) for the Scientific cadre. The Board also conducts examination for filling up of Group ‘A’ positions in the Administrative and Technical cadres.

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