A high-level panel set up to examine and review the performance of Krishi Vigyan Kendra (KVKs) has recommended strict adherence to norms.
“In the case of NGOs, their credentials of dedicated working for espousing the cause of farmers and development of agriculture may be thoroughly examined before sanctioning KVK. The basic norms and criteria of quality sizeable land and potential of the host organisation to effectively implement the KVK should not be compromised,” it said in a report submitted to the government.
The committee, headed by former Agriculture Secretary J N L Shrivastava had submitted its report last month and The Indian Express has obtained a copy of the 46 page report exclusively. The panel also has called for an emphasis on skill development.
“As per instructions from PMO, Skill Development training for rural youth has to be given more emphasis by KVK…The process of skill development may be strengthened by establishing linkages of KVKs with National Skill Development Council,” the report says.
The Indian Express on May 16, 2013 had reported that proper procedure was often overlooked in the allotment of KVKs, and that former agriculture minister Sharad Pawar had personally intervened to recommend some NGOs runs by powerful politicians and their relatives in violation of norms.
The committee, which was constituted by Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh on December 15, submitted its report last month.
The panel, which visited just four KVKs located near Delhi (three run by Agriculture Universities and one run by an NGO), found that “KVKs lack expertise in the area of processing and value addition; agro-meterology; agri-business; and diagnostic services.”
It also recommended KVKs to forge PPPs at the district level to technically support the initiatives of “private extension service providers”.
The Indian Express had reported that these KVKs get up to Rs. 2.50 crore per year but there is no system of evaluating their performance.
The committee has recommended that apart from the quinquennial review, “external evaluation may also be initiated for critical monitoring and evaluation of KVKs”. The report also says that the number of Zonal Project Directorates may be increased for better monitoring.
Giving due importance to the Northeast, the committee has recommended to ICAR to “create one more coordinating and monitoring unit in the region.” The panel has also recommended that KVKs should be linked up with Sansad Adarsh Gram Yojna and Pradhanmantri Sinchai Yojna and MNREGS, adding that they should “proactively identify suitable technologies, service providers, experts and organisations.
The KVK scheme is funded by the Centre and there are 641 centres in the country. Of these, 99 are run by NGOs.