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Mr. Sanjeev Chopra, IAS, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperation, Government of India, has underlined the need of encouraging urban agriculture in the country.

"Agriculture is no more a rural affair. Urban agriculture should be the order of the day and the governments and institutions should focus on this by making use of the available infrastructure," Mr. Sanjeev Chopra said while delivering a lecture on "Leveraging Agriculture as the Key Growth Driver in India" at the Administrative Staff College of India's Bella Vista campus in Hyderabad on Monday.

A PhD in Management Studies and winner of prestigious fellowships, Dr. Sanjeev Chopra cited rooftop agriculture of Hero's new plant at Manesar in Haryana as an encouraging model to drive his point home.

Mr. Sanjeev had worked in Times of India and Economic Times for two years before joining the IAS in 1985. He was awarded the Robert S McNamara (World Bank) and the Hubert H Humphrey fellowship in 1998 and 1999 respectively. He has been a Guest Scholar at The Brookings Institution, Washington DC.

Apart from 'urban agriculture', he mentioned 'post harvest management', 'imperative of diversification' and 'strategy for rain-fed agriculture' as the other three pathways for development of the  agriculture sector in India.

Mr. Sanjeev listed out five 'good reasons' to give priority to the agriculture sector.  “A double digit growth is impossible if we ignore this sector. Agri-growth has multiplier effect on poverty reduction and rural prosperity. It has a high potential for creating ‘Near Farm’ jobs." he said adding that this sector is more competitive than manufacturing sector. "Last but not the least, the world's most populous country can't outsource its food security," he said. 

"Agriculture is the preferred driver for inclusive, sustainable and balanced growth," Mr.Sanjeev asserted before rounding up his presentation.

Apart from Indian participants of various programs being run by ASCI, senior executives from Laos, Fiji, Suriname, Lebanon, Tanzania, Nigeria and Bhutan attended the lecture and appreciated the finer points made by Mr.Sanjeev.

The ASCI Director General Mr. Ravi Kant and the Registrar Mr. Kalyan K Roy felicitated Mr. Sanjeev Chopra for his very insightful lecture. Incidentally Mr. Chopra is Mr. Ravi Kant’s batchmate in the IAS in West Bengal cadre.

For more details on the works of Mr.Sanjeev Chopra: http://www.sanjeevchopra.in/