In 1871, the then, Imperial Government (British India) had created a central department of Agriculture to generate the revenue from Agricultural Sector. During a decade followed, the country had faced several draughts, famines and calamities causing food shortage. As a result of which a Famine Commission was set up, in 1880 to suggest the measures to cope with this situations. There were evidences that in every seven good seasons, there were two bad seasons and in every twelve years there was one disastrous famine. The commission recommended strengthening the Department of Agriculture to mitigate this situation. And hence, a central department of agriculture was strengthened in 1882, by creating state department of agriculture in each province under the administrative control of a Secretary. In 1892, the positions of Chief Soil Chemist and Soil Chemist were created to head the central and state department of agriculture respectively by scientific personnel.
During 1901-1905, it was thought to impart agricultural education in India. As a consequence of it, six agricultural colleges were established in the first phase. They were at Lyalpur (now in Pakistan), Agra, Kanpur, Nagpur, Coimbatore and Sabour (Bihar). Additional Agricultural college at Pune was established in 1906. During the same year, the Research in Agriculture was attracted more attention and as a result of it, an Imperial Agricultural Research Institute was established at Pusa, in Bihar. During the year 1919, Agricultural Education and Development was made a state responsibility. In 1921 a centralized committee on cotton research and development was established to promote the cotton production. Thereafter, in 1926 a high power committee (Royal Commission on Agriculture) was constituted to suggest the improvement in Indian Agriculture and Rural economy. In view of the recommendations of the committee headed by “Steward” to give the more emphasis on research on soil qualities and soil fertility, in order to improve the agricultural production in the country, an independent body as ‘Imperial Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR)’ was established in 1929 (16th July), to guide to promote and to co-ordinate the activities of different aspects of Agricultural Research and Education in India.
In the year 1934, the country had faced divesting earth quake in Eastern India. It damaged almost completely the structure and activities of ‘Imperial Agricultural Research Institute’ at Pusa (Bihar). This has lead to change the head quarter of the Institute from Pusa, Bihar to New Delhi. The significance of the Pusa, is still being recognized at new place. However the Institute is commonly known as Pusa Institute.
In 1947, after achieving the Independence, the title of ‘Imperial’ was changed as ‘Indian’, and thereafter the organization was known as ‘Indian Council Agricultural Research’.
In 1952 the first Soil Map of the country was generated by Sir Vishwanath an Indian Soil Chemist.
In 1956 several projects on different important crops, such as cotton, oil seeds, millets, was initiated. Simultaneously, the importance to study the soil in more detail was recognized and All India Soil Survey organization was established which was headed by, Dr. S. P. Raychoudhari a renowned Soil Scientist.
In 1957, a co-ordinate project on maize improvement was initiated. The first Agriculture University on Land Grand Basis, was established
in 1960 at Pantnagar (Uttarakhand). Thereafter several Agriculture Universities came into existence such as J.N.K.V.
at Jabalpur in 1964, and four Agriculture Universities in Maharashtra.
In 1969 It followed the establishment of many such Universities in different state of India. Now each state has one or more Agriculture Universities. Besides, the University on Animal Sciences was also established by a few states.
In sixtees, there was a crises in the production of food grains in the country. The situation was aggravated by several droughts. The supply of food grains was too much short to meet the people’s needs. The country was almost in the stage of begging bowl. And our first Prime Minister, Pandit Jawaharlal Neharu, said, “Every thing else, can wait, but not the Agriculture”. And the Indian Authority has appropriately thought to give more impetus to the Agricultural Research and Education.
In 1965, ICAR became the nodal agency for co-coordinating Agricultural Research in the Country. It gained administrative control over various commodity Research Institutes. Late Dr. B. P. Pal took over first Scientist Vice President of ICAR. The ICAR has been reoriented and re-organized.
In 1966, based on the recommendation of Parkar Committee. The ICAR had become fully autonomous. Dr. M. S. Swaminathan became first Director General of ICAR and Secretary to Govt. of India.
In 1972. The seed of first Green Revolution was sown in the country. The Green revolution was successful. The country became self sufficient in food production and is also in a position to export.
In 1973, Agricultural Research Services had been established to recruit the qualified scientists to serve to ICAR system in 61 disciplines through a nation-wide competitive examination followed by personal interviews. Now, there are much developments in quality of Research and Education and the Institute Infrastructure. There are about hundred major Research Institutions covering almost every crops and every aspect in Agricultural Sectors including Animal Sciences and Fisheries. There are equal numbers of co-ordinate projects also. This is supported by the State Agricultural Universities and also Universities on Animal Sciences. Both together numbers 32. This figure may swell in near future. There is a very strong network of Agricultural Colleges run by the Government and also with the support of private-public-partnership mode in the country, located in different agro-climatic situations. Such constitutional colleges are numbered around 178. The manpower in ICAR research system constitute to more than 6500 and that of Agricultural University System around 5000. This network is responsible for quality education to train the human resource to cater to need of changing agriculture, coping with increasing demand of food, fiber, vegetable, fruits, milk and egg, etc. The Manoharbhai Patel College of Agriculture, Hiratiola, Tah-Goregaon, Dist-Gondia (Maharashtra), established in 2009, is one of the link in this strong network of agriculture colleges in the country.
The ICAR at central level, and the Agricultural Universities and Agricultural Colleges at local level, will keep the pace in up-scaling to fulfill the demand of the people with change in time, to achieve the sustainability and ensure to the food security – the right to food of the people – an enact passed by the Parliament in the year 2009.