Eternal University located in the serene surroundings of Baru Sahib is well known in northern India for imparting value-based education to girls and adopting innovative strategies for training its graduates in cutting-edge areas of research. The university has come up with another path-breaking effort in the form of a two days EU-Corporate Interface on April 7-8, 2018. The Interface of researchers, industrial houses and financial institutions has promised to help synergise sustainable development of the Himachal Pradesh in general and the backward Sirmour district in particular. The university has already adopted five clusters of villages in the surrounding area for the all-round development by giving impetus to agriculture, food processing, computer literacy, women empowerment and environment protection. It is hoped that the interface will help to upscale these efforts to a much larger area and attract the industrial houses to invest in this backward region for sustainable development of the area.
The inaugural session of the Interface was chaired by the Revered Baba Iqbal Singh Ji, Chancellor of Eternal University and Chairman of the Kalgidhar Trust. Dr Atanu Purkayastha, IAS, World Bank Consultant, Former Secretory, Central Information Commissioner and Former Additional Chief Secretory of West Bengal was the chief guest.
Prof. H.S. Dhaliwal, Vice Chancellor, Eternal University, a globally renound biotechnologist delivered a talk highlighting the achievements of Eternal University in the field of crop improvement, food processing, biodiversity conservation, renewable energy and in other important areas. He also emphasized on the importance of synergy between academia and industry for the sustainable development of Himachal Pradesh and to develop a road map for initiating close linkage among different stakeholders in this challenging task.
Dr. M. Moni, Ex-Director General, National Informatics Center, Govt. of India and Chairman of ICFA’s Working Group on ICT in Food and Agriculture, delivered the keynote Address on ‘Role of Communication and Information Technology in the Agro Sector’. He exhorted the technocrats and the agricultural scientists to rise to the occasion and make optimum use of information and communication technologies to make the farmers aware of the latest agri-innovations and to help double farmers’ income in the next four years.
A galaxy of corporate leaders and leading academicians from all over the country were part of the two days confab. Dr. KG Karmakar, Former Managing Director, NABARD, Mumbai and Dr. Daisy Thakur, Chairperson Himachal Pradesh State Women Commission, Shimla were the Guest-of-Honor at the Inaugural Session. Mr. Ravinder Chandla, Regional Director ASSOCHAM, Chandigarh; Mr Ravinderjit Singh, CEO, Agrinnovate India, Ltd.; Prof. MV Ashok, Tata Chair Professor at Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai; Dr. Gopi Ghosh, independent Consultant in Food System and Agriculture and Dr. VK Bahuguna, Former Director General, Indian Council of Forestry Research and Education were part of the august gathering.
In the first technical session, Prof. MV Ashok, Tata Chair Professor at Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai delivered his lecture on ‘Organic Farming in Horticulture and Medicinal Plants’. Mr. Ajit Kumar, Managing Director, Khushi Social and Green Networks shared his views on ‘Social and Green Networking Structure’. Dr. KG Karmakar, Formerly Managing Director, NABARD shared his views on the topic, ‘Rural Development Strategies – Need for Structural Reforms’. Mr. SK Gautam, CEO, Udyam, a unit of NR Trade Wind Services Pvt. Ltd., Delhi, informed the eminent congregation about ‘Understanding Challenges in Food and Agri-Consultations. At the end of the first technical session, Mrs. Binita Shah, Supa Agricultural Research Group, Dehradun intuitively debated on the ‘Biodynamic Agriculture and its Relevance’.
Dr VK Bahuguna, Formerly Director General, Indian Council of Forestry Research and Education, Chaired the Second Technical Session. Dr. Gopi Ghosh, a leading Agro-Sector Consultant was the first speaker who delivered his lecture on the topic, ‘Thinking Nutrition Creatively’. Next speaker Dr. R. Raina, Prfessor, Amity University, Noida shared his views on the topic, ‘Issues and Strategies in Sustainable Ulilization of Medicinal Plants of Himalayan Range
Mr. Ashutosh Kumar Sinha, Head, Agri Business, LT Foods Ltd. Gurgaon expounded on ‘Drivers and Gaps in Sustainable Basmati Rice Cultivation’. He informed the audience that India stands first in rice area and second in production, after China and contributes 21.5% of global rice production and faces stiff competition in the world markets for the export of scented rice. There is immense scope for India to take advantage of the new trade opportunities that sustain the export of scented rice and processed products of rice. This can be achieved only if production is made as per the consumer demands and requirements of international markets.
The concluding session comprised of a Panel Discussion initiated by Dr. V.K. Bahuguna and taken forward by Col. Prakash Tewari, Managing Director, CSR of DLF Ltd., Gurgaon; Mr. Awadhesh Kumar Singh, President, Royal Association for Science-led Socioeconomic and Sociocultural Advancement (RASSA), New Delhi; Ms. Neeru Abrol, Former Chairperson and Managing Director and Director Finance, National Fertilizers Ltd. Prof. H.S. Dhaliwal, Vice Chancellor, Eternal University, while concluding the discussion hoped that the event would also establish links with several industries and institutes of higher learning to facilitate its students to have better industrial exposure. The University believes in nurturing an active interface to provide industrial training on live projects to its students. It will help to prepare students for challenging jobs in industrial giants, by exposing them to the newest practical methodologies by way of strategic collaboration with industries. He further emphasised that the university seeks to achieve a symbiotic blend of academic and industrial exposure to enhance placement opportunities, as well as to sustainably develop the adjoining area and the Sirmour district of Himachal Pradesh in an environmentally benign manner.