Union Minister Dr Jitendra Singh said that Start-Up avenues of self-employment could be more lucrative than government jobs and the need is only to change the mindset. He said there is general thinking which is inclined to prefer a small-time government job with a meagre salary instead of a self-employed Start-Up initiative which could comparatively beget manifold returns from the beginning itself.
During interaction with Agriculture Start-Ups, young entrepreneurs and farmers after inaugurating the one-day awareness cum training programme for farmers under CSIR- Aroma Mission Phase-II at CSIR- Indian Institute of Integrative Medicine (IIIM) at Jammu, Dr Jitendra Singh was told by a young entrepreneur that by using modern technology in cultivation, he had started earning Rs. 3 lakhs per annum from beginning itself from a bare one hectare of land while two B-Tech graduate engineers said that their income through a similar Start-Up initiative had doubled within a short span of five months.
In response, the Minister said, there is a take-home message for the misguided youth that here we have young Start-Ups who are not only providing a lucrative livelihood for themselves but also for their peers. Dr Jitendra Singh informed that in government jobs the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) has abolished interviews, as a result, there will be lesser scope for nepotism, favouritism or any other considerations for manipulation.
Dr Jitendra Singh gave an elaborate account of the landmark achievements of the Institute making a special reference to ‘mint’ plant being used on a wide scale commercially that is a part of the legacy of the institute. While referring to the expanding footprint of lavender farming in the UT, he said that the Institute has played a pivotal role in the purple revolution in India that is helping the farming community in increasing their income and improving livelihood.
While lauding the role of the scientific community, the Minister said that CSIR played a significant role in the growth of the aroma industry in India and helped the growers and farmers by enhancing their farm incomes. The institute has contributed towards the development of aroma-based entrepreneurs and in creating job opportunities through its research, skill development and outreach initiatives.
The Minister said that the immense potential of technology in improving the livelihood of people should be harnessed by all departments collaboratively. He urged the youth to actively seek the livelihood opportunities being created by the Government. He encouraged the youth to become agro-entrepreneurs that fetch greater incomes.
He said that the developments in Science and technology in domains like those of agriculture need to be at the centre stage of the public discourse. This, he said, would help in better recognition and awareness of the role of science in various fields as well as in the development of scientific temper among the masses.
While reiterating the commitment of the Government towards balanced development in the various regions of the UT, Dr Jitendra Singh said that various projects like AIIMS Jammu, Ring Road Project in the Jammu region were progressing at a fast pace and people of the region stand to benefit from such social and physical infrastructural projects.
Dr D.S. Reddy, Director, CSIR- IIIM, in his address said that in recent years the aroma project was giving positive results as a result of a collaborative effort of the Scientific Community and the agricultural department through continuous interactions and coordination. Prof J P Sharma, Vice-Chancellor SUKAST, Jammu emphasised the fact that with a focus on aromatic and medicinal plants the incomes of farmers could be raised substantially.
Dr Jitendra Singh flagged off two mobile vans for awareness of the Mission and inspected Stalls showcasing the processed products of aromatic plants from the UT. He also unveiled a song in Baderwahi language composed by artist Maloop Singh for mass awareness to attract the farming community to embrace lavender farming.
Project Aroma of CSIR-IIIM focuses on catalyzing setting up of cooperatives for marketing, promotion of cultivation and processing of high-value Maps, development of superior varieties and their agro technologies, setting up of distillation units and processing facilities, skill and entrepreneurship development, value-addition and product development from MAPs. The Institute aims to cover 9000 Hectares in the next three years in Jammu. Himrosa CK 10, Mint, lavender, Lemongrass Rosa grass, Ocimum, Rosemary, Wild Marigold, Salvia are some of the variety of aromatic plants under phase II of Aroma Mission. The project covers Fourteen high-value aromatic crops extended on a 3247 ha area covering 17 states and benefitting more than 3100 farmers. Around 190 Trainings/Awareness Programmes have been organized under CSIR Aroma Mission in 13 states.
Till March 2021, more than 13 lakh rooted plants of Lavender were provided to more than 800 farmers in the Jammu region (like DodaBaderwah) for more than 200 acres. As per estimates provided by the institute, the income of farmers who adopted Lavender increased from around Rs. 20,000/- per acre to more than Rs. 180,000 per acre.