Agricultural Universities (India)

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Agricultural Universities or 'AUs' are mostly public universities in India that are engaged in teaching, research and extension in agriculture and related disciplines. In India, agricultural education has evolved into a large and distinct domain often, separately from other areas of higher education. Many of these universities are member of a registered society- Indian Agricultural Universities Association. Indian Council of Agricultural Research is the main regulatory authority of agricultural education in India, while the disciplines of Veterinary medicine and Forestry are regulated by Veterinary Council of India and Indian Council of Forestry Research and Education respectively. Based on the statutes establishing these universities, agricultural universities in India can be grouped into various types.

State Agricultural Universities[edit]

"State Agricultural Universities (SAUs)" are the predominant class of agricultural universities in India. A SAU is usually a university established by an Act of state legislature with a dedicated mandate of teaching, research and extension in agriculture and related disciplines.

History of SAUs[edit]

After Independence, one of the greatest challenge before India was agriculture and rural development. This necessitated the availability of trained human resources in these areas. The first Education Commission of India (1949) headed by Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan recommended setting up rural universities in India on American land-grant model.[1] In the 1950s, Indian Parliament was already setting up specialized engineering universities- Indian Institutes of Technology as Institutes of National Importance. However, the Parliament had limited mandate in establishing such specialized institutions for agricultural education, despite the urgent need, as the Constitution of India had conferred the power to make laws in subjects of agriculture (including agricultural research and education) exclusively in the domain of the states. The state of Uttar Pradesh (UP), took the first step for establishing an agricultural university in 1954, when it invited an Indo- American team headed by Dr K R Damle, the Vice-President of Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR), to consider an area around Tarai State farm in Nainital district as a possible site for a rural university.[2] Encouraged by favourable view of the Damle team, two senior UP government officials- H S Sandhu and A N Jha visited United States to look for collaborations with US Universities. In consultation with University of Illinois dean Dr H W Hannah, the state of UP presented a proposal to the Central government in 1956 for establishing a Land-grant style university. Thereafter, a contract between the Government of India, the Technical Cooperation Mission and few US land grant universities, was signed to promote agricultural education in India.[3] The US universities included the University of Tennessee, the Ohio State University, the Kansas State University, the University of Illinois, the Pennsylvania State University and the University of Missouri. The UP Act XI-V of 1958- the founding legislative act for establishing an agricultural university was promulgated by state legislature of UP. The task of mentoring the proposed university in UP was assigned to the University of Illinois which signed a contract in 1959. Thus, the first state agricultural university of India- G. B. Pant University of Agriculture and Technology, Pantnagar was established in UP and it was inaugurated by the first Prime Minister of India Jawaharlal Nehru, on 17 November 1960. The model of establishing Pantnagar University paved the way for establishing state government supported dedicated universities for agricultural education, i.e., SAUs in India. There are 54 SAUs in India.{}

Features of SAUs[edit]

SAUs are characterized by their triple mandate of teaching, research and agricultural extension. Since, initial SAUs were established with technical cooperation from United States Land grant universities, their academic programmes are strongly influenced by the American system and present a departure from academic system prevailing in other general universities in India. The undergraduate degreeprograms of SAUs are of minimum 4 years duration. Since, their inception, SAUs have followed a trimester or a semester system with credit based continuous evaluation on 5-point or 10 point GPA scale. This is different from general universities, which usually followed a yearly term and percentage based end-session evaluation. As envisioned in ICAR's Model Act for Agricultural Universities [4] most of the SAUs are non- affiliating universities, however SAUs in states like Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Chhattisgarh etc. have affiliated private agricultural colleges. Also, SAUs have territorial jurisdiction.

Deemed universities[edit]

Deemed universities are not established by an act of independent legislation, but declared to function as universities by Government of India under Section 3 of the University Grants Commission Act 1956. As per this section "The Central Government may, on the advice of the Commission, declare by notification in the Official Gazette, that any institution for higher education, other than a University, shall be deemed to be a University for the purposes of this Act, and on such a declaration being made, all the provisions of this Act shall apply to such institution as if it were a University within the meaning of clause (f) of section 2"[5] Thus, the provision of deemed universities enables the central government to incorporate an agricultural university without the need of a Parliamentary legislation and thus circumventing the complexities of federal division for legislative powers, which has put agriculture in the state list.

There are 7 AUs under deemed university category, and further proposal to establish 6 more deemed universities for agriculture in the 12th Five-year plan. Most of these deemed universities are sponsored by Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) and have small academic programmes as compared to SAUs. Few of these universities, like Allahabad Agricultural Institute and Indian Agricultural Research Institute have contributed significantly to research in agricultural science.

Central agricultural universities[edit]

Notwithstanding the limited power of the Indian Parliament for legislating on subjects of state list such as agriculture (including agricultural research and education), there are certain provisions in the Constitution of India which allows it to legislate on these matters in certain conditions, like when the Rajya Sabha passes a resolution to this effect by two-thirds majority (Article 249) or when legislatures of two or more states pass a resolution to do so (Article 252) or to implement decisions taken in international conferences (Article 253).

The Central Agricultural University at Barapani, Meghalaya was incorporated by an act of parliament (No.4 of 1992) and caters to many states in the Northeast India. So far, it is the only Central Agricultural University (CAU). There are proposals and demands of establishing more number of CAUs. The Rani Lakshmi Bai Central Agricultural University Bill, 2012 was introduced in the Rajya Sabha on 22 May 2012 and it aims to incorporate a CAU at Jhansi catering to Bundelkhand region spanning the two states of Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh.[6] The Parliament has passed The Finance Bill 2012-2013 for budgetary allocation for establishing CAU in Bihar.[7] There are demands from many states to establish CAUs. Chief Minister of Orissa has demanded setting up a CAU in Kalahandi Balangir Koraput Region.[8] The West Bengal government placed a proposal before the Centre to set up a CAU at Goaltore in West Midnapore district on a 1,000-acre (4.0 km2) land parcel.[9] Some of the older SAUs like Pantnagar University and Punjab Agricultural University are demanding to be converted into Central Universities.[10][11]

Other universities involved in agricultural education[edit]

Central universities[edit]

Central universities including Banaras Hindu University, Aligarh Muslim University, Visva-Bharati University, Hemwati Nandan Bahuguna Garhwal University, Nagaland University and Sikkim University have distinct faculties in agriculture. Few Central universities also have affiliated agricultural colleges.

State universities[edit]

Bundelkhand University, Lucknow University, Kanpur University, Gorakhpur University, Meerut University, Calcutta University and many other state universities have distinct agriculture faculties. Most of these universities have a number of affiliated agriculture colleges.

Institute of national importance[edit]

IIT Kharagpur has a very strong programme in Agricultural Engineering, while IIM A and IIM Lucknow have leading programmes in Agribusiness. Central Food Technological Research Institute under AcSIR is the premier institute in Food Technology

Private universities[edit]

Amity University has a programme in organic farming

See also[edit]


  1. ^ [1][dead link]
  2. ^ Rudra 1978:390
  3. ^ GOI Ministry of Finance, Department of Economic Affairs 1959 Report on the Indo-U.S. Technical Co-operation Programme. New Delhi: GOI, p.157
  4. ^ "MODEL ACT FOR AGRICULTURAL UNIVERSITIES IN INDIA (As revised in 2008)". Legislative bill. ICAR. 6 Aug 2012. Retrieved 6 August 2012. 
  5. ^ "UGC Act 1956 as Modified upto the 20th December 1985 and Rules and Regulations under the Act" (PDF). University Grants Commission. 2002. 
  6. ^ "Rani Lakshmi Bai Central Agricultural University Bill,2012". Legislative bill. Rajya Sabha. 22 May 2012. Retrieved 7 June 2012. 
  7. ^ Demand for Grants, DARE Government of India, 7 June 2012
  8. ^ Naveen pitches for central agriculture varsity in Orissa Business Standard, 16 March 2012
  9. ^ Bengal awaits clearance for central agriculture university MSN, 6 August 2011
  10. ^ Central University Pantnagar and visionless politics Nainital Samachar (Hindi), 15 January 2010
  11. ^ CAfter PU, PAU pitches for central university status Indian Express, 3 September 2008

External links[edit]