In India, there are 34 state agricultural universities, 3 deemed agricultural universities and 3 central universities offering courses in different disciplines of agricultural science at undergraduate and postgraduate level. Apart from offering Plant Pathology as an optional subject, few universities offer specialized course in Plant Pathology both at undergraduate and postgraduate level.
There are total of 16 agricultural universities in India having separate department of plant pathology. Most of the agricultural universities in India offer bachelors and masters programs in Plant Pathology. Students after completing +2 Science ( with Physics, Chemistry, Maths, Biology, Agricultural Science. etc ) can opt for Bachelor of Science course in Plant Science with specialization in plant pathology, and options either in agricultural technology or biotechnology.
One can also pursue allied course like Entomology, Nematology, and Weed Sciences etc., to become a scientist / expert in the field. For masters program in Plant Protection / Plant Pathology / Entomology / Nematology and Weed sciences subjects, candidates have to pass their Bachelor’s degree in the biological sciences or in agriculture, under 10+2+3 or 10+2+4 pattern.
Candidates must have obtained at least 60% marks or its equivalent overall grade point average ( OGPA ) for general category and for SC / ST / PH 55% marks or equivalent OGPA.
The admission can be obtained through All India Combined Entrance and State level Entrance Examinations conducted separately. The All India Entrance is being held regularly by the ICAR that also provides the JRF scholarships to students. To enter in Plant Protection subjects one can do first Bachelor’s in agriculture or in biological sciences, for that a candidate should hold Intermediate / Plus two certificate ( with good second class marks ) in biological science or agriculture.
Through entrance exams the candidate can take admission in various agriculture as well as non – agriculture universities. There are Two separate entrance examination through which entry is possible – One All India ICAR Entrance and another Sate wise agriculture universities ( pre agriculture tests ) test for which domicile of the respective state is mandatory. The All India Entrance is being held regularly by the ICAR that also provide the JRF scholarships to the students holding good ranks is essential to get the JRF seats in the universities.
The tentative numbers of seats in M.Sc. Plant Pathology are 74 ( 20 JRF ), In Entomology, 80 ( 23 JRF ), Nematology, 10 ( 3 JRF ) and in Plant Protection, 4 ( 1 JRF ). The number of seats both JRF and Non – JRF may vary depending upon the approval of number in seats in different universities by the time of counseling and admission. The admission as well as JRF will be given to only those candidates who join the M.Sc. Programs in the university / institute other than that from where he / she has obtained the Bachelor’s degree.
Various trainings in plant protection and in the related subjects are being provided by the following institutions regularly :
National Plant Protection Training Institute, Rajendra Nagar, Hyderabad, Environment Protection Training & Research Institute, Gochibowli, Hyderabad, Division of Forest Entomology, FRI, .Dehradun, Institute of Indian Bio-informatics, Training in Plant Protection, Govt. of India, Ministry of Agriculture etc. The scope of employment for Plant Pathology graduates is available both at public and private sectors. One can also start his / her business after completing the course.
Plant Pathology graduates can join as a Plant Geneticist, Plant Breeder, Aquatic Botanist, Limnologist, Physiologist, Plant Pathologist, Professor, Consultant, and Agricultural Engineer or Inspector at district and state level. Employment opportunities are also available in areas like research, product development, sales, teaching, extension, administration, regulatory work, and private practice etc.
Scope of Plant Pathology
As for as jobs, opportunities and scope in Plant Protection is concerned one can go in Government sector, Private sector and personal business. After a candidate has received his Masters degree or Ph. D degree in Plant protection or any of its branches he can opt for any of the aforesaid sectors.
It has a scope for further study, career and education. One can go for Ph. D by means of entrance examination in the similar manner. Doctorate degree leads to good chances for a person to apply for Professorship in teaching or as a Scientist in research in various universities and colleges of the country. Candidate can also go for SRF to work for research in various projects of Plant projection run by the government.
One can also qualify NET examinations conducted by ASRB ( ICAR ) and CSIR for direct eligibility as professor in any college / university / institute having a plant protection department or its sub branches i.e. Plant Pathology, Entomology, Nematology, and Weed Sciences etc. and ARS / NET ( Agricultural Research Service ) examinations conducted by ASRB ( ICAR ) for direct recruitment of Scientists and Assistant Professors, Associate Professors and Professors in research labs and State and Central Agricultural Universities. ( The author is Research Intern Popular Science Division, National Institute of Science Communication and Information Resources ( NISC AIR ), Near Pusa GATE, New Delhi – 110012 ).