The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday approved the setting up of an agriculture research institute in Assam, to help spur growth in north eastern states.
Briefing media on the Cabinet decisions, Union Minister Piyush Goyal said the government had plans to bring a green revolution in the north-east region and the new Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI) in Assam would "play a crucial role in bringing a second green revolution" in the country.
"Development of the north-eastern states has been a priority for the Modi government and the new institute will play a crucial role in driving growth in the region," Goyal said.
The institute would be set up at a cost of Rs 155 crore, Goyal said.
"Not a single agriculture research institute was built after 1967. In 2014, the Modi government approved two such institutes. Construction of the one in Ranchi has already started. But there was not any development in the case of the Assam institute as the previous government did not allot land. The (current BJP-led) Sarbananda Sonowal government has allotted 587 acres for the institute," Goyal said.
The IARI-Assam will be the third such institute after those in New Delhi and Ranchi. It will have student capacity of 67 for MSc and 106 for PhD in agricultural sciences programmes.
"By 2020-21, the institute will produce about 90 PhD students every year. The institute will drive agricultural progress in Assam and other northeastern states. About 85 per cent of the people in Assam are dependent on agriculture," Goyal said.
The Agriculture Ministry said the IARI-Assam will have "all the hallmark identities of IARI in New Delhi", including all sectors of agriculture like field crops, horticulture crops, agro-forestry, animal husbandry, fisheries, poultry, piggery, silk rearing, honey production.
Union Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh said IARI-Assam would work on the agrarian challenges and complexities of northeastern India in coordination with all existing central and state governments, R&D institutions and private sector enterprises.
"(It will undertake) research, education, extension programmes in its mission towards developing quality human resource, generation of farmer-friendly technologies to enhance productivity, quality, profitability, promote agro-based industries and generate employment opportunities for holistic and sustainable development of the agriculture sector in the region," a release quoted Singh as saying.