Flawed Policy is Driving Agri-Professionals to Despair. It Must Change. Radically So!

Aqib Nazir

Literally, agrarian policy makers are stuck to their own stunts experimenting with the policy apparatus which have knock-on effects on the agrarian growth and acutely and negatively affecting J & K’s food production machinery thereby sickening the agrarian sector.
Consider the following which constitutes an illustrative example
On 23rd Oct 2017 the administration came up with SRO-442 in J&K’s agriculture production department (APD) which negates the idea of comparative advantage, and has cascading effects on J&K’s agriculture and on the youth taking agriculture as their career option.
Since SKUAST is burning its midnight oil in producing students with flagship value innovation traits but policies like this treat them step-motherly further adding to the dormant or unused assets of this sector.
The draconian policy has shrunk the space for agri- graduates and PHD degree holders which could have been used as an instrument of change in our food-deficit state. It is also discouraging the youth, not to take agriculture as their career option because the said policy is clubbing the agri-professionals and the diploma holders in the same box, which is disturbing as both has different levels of skill standards and sets This has forced now agri-professionals with PHD’s to switch on to other non-agrarian jobs which has detrimental effects in the sector they were specialized and trained for.
And during the passage of time they lose all the skills just like blood loses its clotting properties as a result of cardio-vascular bypass procedure. Previously, the entry level post in non gazetted cadre of JKAPD was JAEO (Junior agriculture extension officer) in which filling was done as 60% by direct recruitment and 40% by promotion, which was good but now halting the entry through JAEO and sugar-coating this change by creation of low level post, AEA creates non-agrarian majoritarianism in the department.
The need of the hour is to conduct an autopsy of the whole policy and identify where the source of discrepancy lies. They can talk to all sides on this like the agri-professionals, diploma holders, JKAPD officials and figure out the way. But if this remained unchecked, youth are not going to take agriculture as a profession in the future that will further increase distortions in the agriculture sector.
As long as policy makers and government treat jobs as marginal to development, and agri-professionals as marginal to agriculture sector, the policy failure impacts will strain and tear every weak stitch of the food sector developmental fabric. Instead of lubricating the wheels, the policy is impeding and increasing friction in the wheels of agriculture sector. It is very important to understand that the draconian changes to the chemical constituents of agrarian job policy is hurting the eyes and gripping the hearts of agri-professionals and putting them in a place that is every student’s nightmare. Most policy makers wait for crisis or they wait for a loss, some tragedy to make up their mind to change. So, my message is why wait? Why not listen to the howls of agri professionals when they have reached the highest decibel levels?

—The author can be reached at: aqibnazir266@gmail.com