The Indian Institute of Technology (Banaras Hindu University), Varanasi is working closely with farmers to drive research-based development in the agriculture sector to increase the contribution of rural areas in Indian economy.
Professor Pramod Kumar Jain, Director, IIT (BHU), Varanasi said the importance of sustainable development has gathered momentum amid the global Covid-19 pandemic. Academicians attached to the University are working in diverse areas to address challenges of climate action, health and economic sustainability.
The major research work of the university is focused on supplying clean water, sewage treatment in urban areas, traffic management in cities, ways to control pollution from industrial construction, extracting automobile fuel by recycling waste plastic and making the agricultural sector productive.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s attempt to make India a powerful economy can be achieved only if the rural sector becomes a major source of growth and generates enough employment.
On this front, he said Chiraigaon block of Varanasi is famous for fruit, vegetables and flowers. Though there are food processing plants, there is potential to develop extraction-based enterprises to boost the economy in the region. The IIT (BHU) centre in the block is focusing on fruit, food, vegetable processing and extraction in addition to up-skilling the rural youth, especially females, to empower them with right life skills. Similarly, the satellite centre at Ramnagar, near Varanasi has been created to provide technical mentoring and marketing network platform for over a dozen geographical indication (GI) products in the region.
Recently, Modi has stressed on the need to develop an indigenous toy cluster. Varanasi being the home for wooden toys, efforts will be made to put this cluster on the world map, said Jain.
The satellite centre at Bhabni block, a tribal area in Sonbhadra district, is developing a post harvesting and processing centre for forest produce. The processed products will be marketed through incubated companies at IIT (BHU).
With the support of the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, the University has developed an incubation system and has over two dozen companies working closely with research students and scientists in the agricultural and non-farm domains. These companies are also benefiting through the IIT(BHU) network of satellite centres in the region by deriving insights from the community-driven research work. As the importance of the rural economy gains momentum more companies in food processing and related sectors will work with the University, he said.
IIT (BHU) is collaborating with Ministries and international research institutions to create an ecosystem for the agricultural sector through knowledge sharing, policy research, scientific insights and developing empirical models that are evidence-based, sustainable and scalable.
Established as Banaras Engineering College in 1919, the institute was renamed Indian Institute of Technology (Banaras Hindu University), Varanasi in 2012.