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With the aim of encouraging students to take up agriculture education Ganga Raju, a dairy technologist now working with a media firm in Mumbai, has instituted two farm scholarships of Rs 25,000 each annually for post-graduate students pursuing education in agriculture in the College of Agriculture, Nagpur.

The first scholarship of Rs 25,000 will be given to five students (Rs 5,000 each), three girl and two male students, while the second scholarship of Rs 25,000 will go to one student conducting ground breaking research in agriculture that can be directly applied in field in Vidarbha region. V S Gonge, associate dean of the college, told TOI the scholarship was a big motivation to the PG students. “We have many economically weak students who are very good in studies. The scholarship will boost their morale. Hence, I accepted the offer,” he said.

Raju, though an agriculture graduate with B.Tech in dairy technology from the Anand Agriculture University in Gujarat, has now shifted to a completely different field of advertising. He continues to have special affection for agriculture. He says the farm scholarships are just a small effort towards inspiring students studying agriculture.

He told TOI though he was no longer in agriculture, it continues to be his first love. So he wants to encourage meritorious students from economically weak background. “I happened to be in Nagpur for some official work when the idea struck me. Unfortunately it was not possible to identify these students off hand. So I distributed the first scholarship to three girls and two boys. I couldn’t get a suitable candidate for the second scholarship of research. So I distributed the money in all ten students who presented their work. I will be back in April again and then select a student with promising research and give another Rs 25,000,” he said.

Students who are the first recipients are delighted. They think even a small amount like Rs 5,000 annually would mean a lot. Lukngam Yomgum, a M.Sc student from Arunachal Pradesh pursing extension agriculture, says, “We spend a lot of money while conducting research in travelling and books etc. And especially if you are economically weak even Rs 5,000 a year means a lot. It will help us conduct our research more efficiently,” she said.

Ritu Chaudhary, a M.Sc Botany student from Rajasthan who got one of the farm scholarships, considers it a big help and motivation. “When we are students, such amounts are significant. It raises our confidence and gives new motive to continue studies with more dedication,” she told TOI. Both these girls got admission in Nagpur College through the national entrance conducted by the Indian Council of Agriculture Research (ICAR).

Bharat

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