"The government is serious about providing employment in rural areas and check the migration of youth... The government is giving priority to transform agricultural and rural activities into employment-oriented ones," Singh said addressing an event here.
In order to retain youth in farm sector, the government has rolled out several schemes, he said. The Indian Agriculture Research Council (ICAR) has initiated a programme called 'ARYA' which will be implemented on a pilot basis in 25 districts in 25 states to attract youth in the agriculture sector.
Besides developing entrepreneurship capabilities, youth will be trained on the essential skills as per the requirement of selected enterprises and entrepreneurial units will be set up at their location within the selected districts, he said.
To create more opportunities for agriculture graduates, Singh said the Centre has BSc Agriculture as mandatory qualification requirement to get licence for sale of agriculture inputs like seeds, fertilisers and pesticides.
"This will create several thousand jobs for agriculture graduates in the country," he said.
Keeping in view the importance of employment in agriculture, Singh said the ministry has chalked out a scheme to set up agri-clinic and agri-business centre with the help of Nabard.
"Schemes like Skill India, Start-Up and Atal Innovation Mission have been launched for employing the youth. Emphasis have been laid to connect Digital India Programme across the country along with transparency in administration," he said.
That apart, the financial assistance to agriculture students of undergraduate and post-graduate level have been increased to encourage them to take up higher education in agricultural field, he added.
Singh also said eight agriculture universities have been established to promote higher education in various states. Six new colleges have been set up under Central Agriculture University, Imphal resulting in the enhancement of agriculture colleges to thirteen from seven in north eastern states.
In addition, under Rani Laxmi Bai Central Agricultural University, four new colleges have been set-up in Bundelkhand, he added.