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Posted at: Jul 11, 2018, 12:11 AM; last updated: Jul 11, 2018, 12:11 AM (IST)CAREER HOTLINE

Is agri economics the right field for me?

Pervin Malhotra
email your queries to careers@tribunemail.com 

Q. I am doing my bachelor’s in economics. Can you please tell me something about agricultural economics? What are the prospects for a career in this field? — Punit Ishwaran

A. Achieving food security has been the overriding goal of our agricultural policy. To achieve this goal, we require agricultural scientists as well as agricultural economists who can apply the principles of economics to ensure better agricultural productivity and distribution. As growth in this sector is a result of greater liberalisation and investment, the demand for agricultural economists is on the rise.

Besides land appraisal, crop grading, marketing and sales, agricultural economists are involved in farm management, co-operative management, farm utilities, wholesale and retail marketing of agricultural products, priority setting for research, investment planning, and assessment of returns on investment as well as maintaining the soil eco-system. In short, all those activities that ensure that agricultural productivity grows at planned rate of growth.

Present day agricultural economics includes a variety of applied areas that considerably overlap with conventional economics. Agricultural economists have made substantial contributions to research in economics, econometrics, development economics, and environmental economics. Agricultural economists work in cooperatives, banking and insurance sector, agribusiness, foreign embassies, NGOs and other donor agencies, Ministry of Agriculture, Indian Economic Service as also in the field of research and academics (the latter would require a PhD at least).

Prospects in geospatial engineering

Q.While working in IT, I’ve developed an interest in geospatial engineering. What are various career opportunities in GIS? Would I also get to work for the government? — Harminder Soin

A. Ever wondered how the pizza delivery guy makes it to your house in record time despite the dreaded traffic jams and pouring rain? The credit goes to the Geographic Information Systems.

Geospatial technology is all about assembling, storing, manipulating and displaying geographically referenced data. GIS is used just about everywhere — from digital map making, site selection, finding the best routes, solving environmental problems, exploring natural resources, urban planning and solutions for other problems.

GIS enables disaster management teams to calculate the emergency response time in the event of a natural disaster, and helps police track down criminals. It also enables nations to understand their topography and fine-tune their industrial policies. Geospatial engineering being a specialised field, requires a background in science. Students from agriculture, computer science, engineering, geography, geology, or IT fields can pursue MSc/MTech courses in Geospatial field and Remote Sensing. You also have the option to follow up with a PhD. Diplomas and certificate courses are also available.

And yes, you would definitely get to work for the government. Besides private companies, major employers in the GIS sector are the central and state governments as well as defence services. Job profiles in GIS range from project manager, project scientist, technical assistant, research associate, GIS environment/business analyst, GIS engineer, GIS programmer, etc.

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