- Government sector gives you a pretty good remuneration and also has a lot of job security and also gives you a lot of free time to pursue your passion.
- The work in the agriculture sector is, in fact, a lot challenging because most of the times you are outdoors in any weather condition.
- The profession offers you a stable and secure job with fixed working hours and can enjoy a lot of holidays
- At times it is dangerous due to communal riots and other political bugs.
- You get to learn a lot about the various socio-economic condition that people survive through. You get a lot of respect from the people and you will start valuing life.
Name – Deepak Haldar
Profession – Agriculture Officer, Government of West Bengal
Age – 52 years
Gender – Male
City – Kolkata
Industry – Government
Where have you been born and raised?
I was born in Kolkata and then later moved to a small town named Basirhat where my dad was transferred. My forefathers were from East Bengal (now Bangladesh). They shifted to Kolkata after the Bengal Partition. I was raised along with my younger brother. Initially, we were all in a joint family and then later it was just me and my parents.
My father was a police officer. An honest police officer, I emphasize on honest because that led to a lot of financial crunches because my dad was famous for not taking bribes. In fact, my brother also joined the police.
I was the eldest in my family and after my dad’s retirement, I had to get a job to support the family, especially to support my brother’s education. My mother has been a homemaker.
Who had the most influence on you?
A lot of people did influence me. Two of the most important people in life who inspired me was my dad and a high school friend of mine. So my dad has been the constant factor of motivation. He has motivated me through thick and thin. And a big lesson that I learned from my high school teacher was and I quote “Whatever you do in life, be it good or bad; struggle will be the sole companion” which I remember till date.
Please give us a summary of your career.
I did majors in Arts. Back then, Humanities did not offer any good career choice. The only option left with me was to take up a government job, which I was not very sure at that point in time.
My family was in a big financial crisis and I had to get into any sort of work to earn bread for my family. I did a lot of odd jobs that even included Labour work. I was ready to go through anything. That is when my friend suggested me to get a degree in Agricultural science. I had to attend evening classes and after one year, there was an opening in the agriculture sector in the Government. I cracked the exam and got through it. There were really tough times in my life, but I would thank my destiny for everything.
What have been your educational qualifications? How would you define your journey of becoming an Agriculture Officer?
Well, my class 10th results were not very good. So I had to enroll myself in Arts. I had my graduation done in Philosophy (honors.). I also had done a one-year course in B.Sc. Agriculture which of course helped me a lot.
Which institutions are best for the entry-level courses?
There is no particular institution to get into a government job. You have specific educational criteria for various posts and you just need to fulfill those. For clearing the entrance exam, there are a lot of coaching institute these days which can help you prepare for the exam.
But, I think the self-dedication has always been important. Apart from that, if one needs to enroll in agricultural science there are a lot of good government and private college that one can choose from.
What has been the approximate costs involved in pursuing the profession as Agriculture Officer?
For your graduation, you can go to any college that suits your financial condition as well as your qualification. The coaching institutions that prepare you for the government jobs are not very expensive and cost around 15–20K for their package.
What is the remuneration one should expect while starting out in your field/career?
The salary in this profession follow a fixed scale and is around 22–25K INR Per Month. As you get your promotion, your salary increases.
The average scale goes about like this
Starting Out — 3 to 4 Lakhs INR per annum
5 years’ experience — 4 to 6 Lakhs INR per annum
10 years’ experience — 8 Lakhs INR per annum
But these days, there are a lot of job options in the private sector in health, pharmaceutical, and biotechnology sector.
Please describe your work? What do you typically do on a normal day?
My daily schedule is not a very happening one but is tiring for sure. Most of my job includes site visits where I have to go to the different agricultural fields and talk to the farmers about crop production, know their challenges and try to give them the best possible solutions.
I also need to introduce them to a lot of hygienic practices in the cultivation process and talk to them about the new government schemes.
My office work includes a lot of paperwork and handling several kinds of applications from farmers.
What kind of person would be happy in your career?
I think government jobs offer you a lot of job security and that’s a big plus point for anyone. Apart from that someone who has their degree in agricultural science has a lot of career options.
What are some of the positives that would encourage someone to take up this job/career?
- Firstly, government jobs are pretty easy going. At times there is a lot of work. But mostly it is easy.
- Remuneration is not bad at all considering the work you do. It is a very secure job. You don’t need to worry till retirement and also after retirement because you get pensions.
- Especially in the field that I am working on currently has a lot of pluses. It really feels good to interact with the farmers and get to understand their socio-economic condition and learn that it isn’t at all easy to handle things.
- There are times when the farmers give you a lot of free raw vegetables. And most importantly you get a lot of respect.
- Government jobs also give you a lot of free time where you can pursue your passion or anything else that you one to do just like I get the time to teach. We also get quite a lot of holidays so one can plan a good vacation.
What are some of the challenges one is expected to face in the Profession fo Agriculture Officer?
- Ok, if we talk about challenges the very first thing is in today’s date securing a government job has become really difficult. There are times when even if you clear the exams you don’t get your call letter. A lot of internal politics involved.
- There are times when you have to face a lot of difficulties. Such as people going against government policies. They revolt and do riots which at times become dangerous.
- At times there is a lot of political threats from the opposition parties.
- Convincing at times becomes a lot difficult. Because probably farmers are not ready to try something new fearing that may affect the productivity of the crops.
What are some of the skills/technological advancement one is required to possess in your job profile?
Skills as such I would say you need to be good at management, good in communication and have a lot of patience. You have to have a fair idea or knowledge of various dialects of the area you’ve been assigned.
Given a choice, if not an Agriculture officer what would you see yourself as?
I don’t know. I always wanted to get into Law. But due to financial insufficiency, I could not.
What would be your advice to students or professionals who are just starting their journey on a path similar to yours?
If you want to start your career in the government sector, start preparing for the government exam early. So keep in mind this is not easy to achieve in today’s scenario. And in today’s scenario, there are a lot more other options which one can pursue after their Agriculture degree.