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Bring the full play of technology to agriculture

F C Kohli (93) is the father of India’s software industry.

A Padma Bhushan awardee, the first CEO of Tata Consultancy Services, India’s software major, raised the College of Engineering Pune, into IIT standards. IE spoke to the big daddy for his views on computerisation and agriculture.

Your view on India’s performance in the IT space

In Information Technology, India has done exceptionally well, especially in the export of services for software. This sector has fetched us a revenue of over $ 150 billion; that’s more than what any other organised activity has done.
While we have a sizable English speaking population, we need computers in Indian languages to provide business and related needs for those not conversant with English and are more comfortable working in their mother tongue. Computerisation in India is low as very little software work has been done in Indian languages.
This has also resulted in the much lower growth of hardware. We must use desi languages for fuller spread of computerisation.

Your views on agriculture…

Remember India has essentially been an agrarian economy. We must treat agriculture as science and technology. Unless we bring the full play of technology to agriculture, the latter cannot leapfrog growth.
I am not shooting in the dark. To show the need to treat agriculture as science and technology, Agriculture Consultancy Management Foundation promoted by IE experimented on productivity improvements at a 2-acre land in Chennai. It focussed on soil and water management. This application of science produced remarkable results – corn output went up more than five-fold: from 800 kg/acre earlier, to 4000 kg now. The result confirmed the belief that agriculture needs scientific intervention.
Agricultural colleges are producing 10,000 to 12,000 graduates per year. None of them can find work in farming because we still do not regard it as science and make it profitable.

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