Agro-Economic Research Scheme

Activities undertaken under the scheme/who does these activities Agro-Economic Research (AER) Scheme is a network of 15 AER Centres/Units which conduct research studies in the field of Agricultural Economy on yearly basis as per need of the Government of India.

Brief on Agro-Economic Research (AER) Scheme: The Agro-Economic Research (AER) Scheme was initiated in 1954-55 for undertaking research studies on Agro-economic problems of the country. Department of Agriculture & Cooperation has set up 15 Agro Economic Research Centres/Units (AERCs/Us) in different Universities/Institutes with a view to conduct application oriented research/evaluation studies on topics of interest. The scheme is staff oriented and fully funded by the Ministry of Agriculture through grants-in-aid (Central Sector Plan Funds). Presently, these AERCs/Us are funded under the Central Sector Scheme “Integrated Scheme on Agriculture Census, Economics and Statistics (ISACES)” being implemented by Directorate of Economics and Statistics(DES), Department of Agriculture, Cooperation and Farmers Welfare (DACFW).

Presently there are 12 AERCs and 3 AERUs situated in different states. The 3 AER Units namely ADRT, Bangalore, CMA, Ahmedabad and AER Unit, Delhi are functioning under the Institute for Social and Economic Change, Bangalore, Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad and Institute of Economic Growth, Delhi respectively. AERC Pune is functioning under the Gokhale Institute of Politics and Economics (a deemed university). The rest 11 Centres are functioning under different Universities, out of which AERCs at Jorhat, Ludhiana and Jabalpur are under Agricultural Universities following ICAR guidelines; AERCs at Allahabad, Delhi and Visva-Bharati, Shantiniketan are under Central Universities and the rest 5 Centres at Bhagalpur, Chennai, Shimla, Vallabh Vidyanagar and Waltair are functioning under the respective State Universities.

Objectives: To carry out research and evaluation studies on Agricultural Economy and Rural Development for meeting the needs of the Department of Agriculture and Cooperation and other Ministries / Departments which have a bearing on the performance of the Agriculture Sector for Policy formulation and provide a feed back on implementation. The following are the objectives of Agro-Economic Research Scheme:-

  1. to conduct investigations into specified agro-economic problems which are of special interest to the Ministry, either at the macro or the micro level;
  2. to carry on continuous studies on changes in the rural economy by means of periodic surveys and re-surveys of selected villages representing typical situations;
  3. to carry on research work on structural changes and fundamental problems of agricultural economy and rural development of the country; and
  4. to give technical advice to the Union Government and State Government on such issues as with mutual agreement may be referred to them.

Process of awarding and monitoring of Research Studies conducted by AERCs/Us: There is a Research Advisory Committee (RAC) for finalization of study proposals to be undertaken by AERCs/Us in the field of agricultural economics. The committee is chaired by the Secretary (DAC&FW). The committee, taking into account the study proposals received from different Ministries/Departments and AER Centres/Units decides the priority areas of research. On the basis of the recommendations of the RAC, studies are allotted to different AER Centres/Units. In case of studies of all India importance, a Centre or a Unit is designated as the Coordinating Centre. This Centre or Unit prepares the consolidated report at the national level based on the state level reports prepared by different AERCs. AER Division, Dte. of Economics & Statistics holds the workshop with AERCs/Us for finalization of research methodology, sampling design and survey questionnaires, etc. The progress of research studies is monitored through Quarterly Progress Reports. The finalized research studies received from AERCs/Us are circulated to the concerned Departments and Ministries for their use. AERCs/Us make presentation to disseminate the findings and recommendations on the completed research studies.

Funds released: The AER Scheme is staff oriented and 100% funded through Grants-in-Aid by Government of India, Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare. The grants-in-aid are meant for meeting the salary, allowances and office expenses of the staff of AER Centres/Units working under administrative control of different Universities/Institutes to conduct research studies allotted by Ministry on agro-economic issues. Till 2003-04, AER Scheme was funded from both Plan and Non-Plan grants. The AERCs/Us are now being funded only from Plan funds from the FY 2004-05.

The grants are released to the Registrars/Directors of the concerned Universities/Institutes, who are the drawing and disbursing authorities. However, in case of four AERCs namely Allahabad, Bhagalpur, Delhi and Jorhat grants are directly released to the Directors of the AERCs. The Grants-in-aid get approved once in the beginning of the year. The financial progress of the scheme is monitored through Monthly and Quarterly financial progress reports. The Centres/Units submit the Audited Utilization Certificates along with the physical achievements of the research studies awarded to them to the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare (the funding agency) for the grants released to them.

Monitoring/Reporting mechanism: The progress of research studies is monitored through Quarterly Progress Reports (QPRs). The AER Centres/Units furnish their QPRs with regard to progress of research studies to the AER Division, Directorate of Economics and Statistics. The AER Division, Directorate of Economics and Statistics examine the QPRs and issues necessary instructions to the AERCs/Us on the progress of research studies so that the same completed as per the timeline. The finalized research studies received from AERCs/Us are circulated to the concerned Departments and Ministries for their use. The financial progress of the AER centres/Units is monitored through Monthly and Quarterly financial progress reports (MPR/QPR). Also, PFMS has been implemented in all the AERCs/Us and they use EAT module of PFMS to upload expenditure report in PFMS. Further, the AERCs/Us submit the annually Audited Utilization Certificates to the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare (the funding agency) for the grants released to them.

Last updated : 06-04-2021, 01:07 PM