Unemployed Agriculture Graduates were adjusted as Rahbar Zaraat Scheme in the year 2007 under the pattern of 1984 RZ policy but honorarium & policy of regularisation differed for both. Since the Jammu and Kashmir Service Selection Board had placed an advertisement in which it wanted to recruit for 66 posts of Junior Agriculture Assistants, despite being interviewed, the notification was cancelled and thus many young people were barred fron employment opportunities by the then government & whole academic year was wasted and all the aspirants got deceived. No recruitment was done in the department despite having large number of existing vacancies for 12 more years. This Advertisement was swapped for reserved categories after 4 years and Government of the time assured that all such unemployed Agriculture graduates who have appeared in interview under JKSSB Advertisement will be adjusted as Rehbari Ziraats. The government later turned away from this promise and backtracked these youths .The state which was under turmoil had only source of living i,e agriculture as 2nd most income generating source Tourism was badly hit. Government took a decision to adjust all passed out Agriculture graduates up to October 2006 as Rehbari Ziraats with passing year as merit. Later on regularisation process took another 7 years, thus wasting 14 precious years of youth who had faced the interview of JKSSB. on 01.04.2014, first batch of Agriculture graduates were regularised as Village Agriculture Extension Assistants (VAEA’s). Job profile given on Circle basis which comprises of Several Panchayat Halqa’s . Later on nomenclature of the post was changed as Agriculture Extension Assistant (AEA). While arriving at merit, the previous policy of year of passing was not followed but unfortunately %age of marks in graduation.Those of the Unemployed agriculture graduates who were fighting for implementing the Rahbar Zaraat scheme had to suffer because they stumbled upon every government office in implementing the Rehbar i Zaraat scheme and wasted the entire 14 precious years of their precious life. Since state was in turmoil & every youth was terribly facing employment opportunities, they decided to accept the job on a mere honorarium of Rs 1500/month. By following irrelevant norms in finalising the merit list of 1st batch two points arise viz; 1. those who had acquired degrees from the institutions where frequent degrees are issued got a place in first batch with a simple bachelor’s degree 2. And those who had a post graduate degree got dropped and could find hardly a place in 2nd batch. Thus loosing a year against low qualified employees. Agriculture was in shambles before the joining of Rehbari Ziraats in the erstwhile state of Jammu & Kashmir. Farmers who had forgotten the Department of Agriculture were again inclined to it after the joining of RZ’s They give a new sheen to this sector. Employees with specialisation in different subjects were given look after charges in various defunct departments and they yielded good results.
Achievements: First Agriculture survey was carried out by these employees in every nook & corner of the state. Lands in Far-flung area’s were brought in notice of technical advisers and the same land was made cultivable for crops like maize, beans and pulses. High yielding varieties were introduced among the farmers in these areas. Today we saw production in dry land has increased. In planes new varieties of rice and vegetables reached farmers. In towns vegetable clusters were started which helped vegetable growers a lot. Kitchen gardens were started by the inhabitants of cities and towns on a large scale. Besides that, other duties assigned to these employees like Door to door Survey, booth level officers (BLO duty) , Baba Amaranth Ji Yatra, election duty, Market Intervention Scheme & as Covid 19 prevention as Magistrates effectively. Agriculture Extension Assistant is the Basic worker linked with farmer’s families. Every AEA maintains tour diary which contains the names of many contact farmers with whom he is in touch for carrying out programs, schemes and latest know-how. The schemes get implemented only after the consultation with these farmers. AEA is the only employee with which our poor farmers share joy & grief. Implementation of schemes Rashtriya Krishi Vigyan Yojan(RKVY) National Mission for Sustainable Agriculture (NMSA), National Food Security Mission (NFSM) , programmes under Agriculture Technology Management Agency (ATMA) National Saffron Mission , PM Kissan , PMMANDAN were carried successfully in the state due to hardworking of AEA’s. Production of Lavender, Mushuk Budhji, Basmati Rice, pollinated hybrid varieties of vegetables, Maize Sweetcorn , pulses, wheat, fodder, oilseeds and potato got increased due to services provided by these highly qualified employees. Off lately government introduced BACK TO VILLAGE Programmes in which AEA’s play pivotal role for successful implementation of the great initiative of the government. In far-flung areas Tulail, karnah , keran, Machhil , Tangdar and Gurez in North Kashmir, Nobrah Leh & Zanskar , Dachhin, Paddar, Marwah, Waedwan, and borders in RS Pora, Mendar border areas of Poonch , agriculture activities got boosted. Height of the things is that class IVth employees, who have been adjusted in the department and whose educational qualification is only matriculation have been elevated up to Junior Agriculture Extension officers and those having qualifications of 10+2 are working as Zonal officers as the department provides them for one year bachelor in agriculture training course and 4 years Degree course with pay respectively , then they are promoted and appointed as junior agriculture extension office officers, while degree holders who are already working in the department are ignored and thus their rights are violated which is not a practice in any department which is utter abuse and injustice. No Departmental examination is conducted for gazetted cadre promotion. Jammu & Kashmir should look into the miseries of these employee’s and reorganise the cadre in department by merging the post of AEA into JAEO at an earliest.
(The author is a freelancer. Views are his own)