In conversation with Dr Ashish Kumar Bhutani, IAS Director, VAMNICOM Dr Ashish Kumar Bhutani We would like to know about yourself? I am a medical doctor joined Indian Administrative Service in the year 1992 and worked in various parts of Assam and Meghalaya. At present, I am on Central deputation with Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare, Government of India as Joint Secretary and having the additional charge of Director, VAMNICOM & CICTAB, Pune from December, 2016. What changes you brought at VAMNICOM after holding the position as Director? Even though I have taken of the charge of VAMNICOM recently, as a Director, CICTAB permitted four of our PGDM ABM students, four of DCBM in service officers and two of our faculty members to attend International programme on “Cooperative Business Model in Sri Lanka” during the first week of January, 2017. Further, adding feather to VAMNICOM, the Institute has entered a MoU with Govt. of Mauritius. This will bring exposure to our students of foreign nations other than SAARC countries. For the benefit of the students, we have applied for financial assistance to AICTE to set up additional computer network facility within the campus. We have also requested AICTE to provide financial assistance to VAMNICOM faculty members to visit foreign nations to make paper presentation. We are also in the process of requesting additional funding support from the Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare, Govt. of India for making VAMNICOM as Centre of Excellence for the cooperative sector. What is your vision for the institute and the students? The institute vision is to provide professional managers to cooperative institutions in the country through various management development programme and long term programmes like Post Graduate Diploma in Management – Agri Business & Management for young graduates, nine months programme on Post Graduate Diploma in Cooperative Business Management and three months Diploma in for in-service cooperative and Govt. depts. The immediate requirement is to get further extension from National Board of Accreditation for the PGDM programme which is granted for the period of two years i.e. upto June, 2017. What are the measures taken by the institute to provide the exposure to the students on the real world of agriculture? Most of the students admitted in PGDM-ABM programme have the background of agriculture or allied courses. The PGDM programme focuses mostly to develop the students in decision making process in the area of agri business sector including rural financing activities. As a part of the programme, we organize visits to various agri business institutions like sugar factories, dairy unit, cooperative banks and NGOs. Do you believe the curriculum must be revised every year? Does VAMNICOM do that? If yes, what are the important considerations taken for revising the curriculum? It is very true, the curriculum needs to satisfy the industry requirement and the programme is of two years and revising course curriculum every year is practically not possible. However, VAMNICOM restructured its PGDM programme in the year 2004 and further updated in 2010. Currently, the revised course curriculum is offered from the PGDM-ABM 2016-18 batch (24th batch). The course restructure work was completed by a small committee consisting of Professors from IIM, Lucknow, IRMA, Anand, VAMNICOM and Industry Experts. Its implementation is monitored by a three mentor committee from VAMNICOM, IRMA, Anand and HDFC Bank. Tell us about teaching faculty? VAMNICOM has 11 faculty members having their long experience in the field of management and industry. Most of them have completed their faculty development programme from Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad. Further the Institute invites experts from the industry to offer few specialized credit courses. Tell us on the different scholarships offered to the bright students? VAMNICOM encourages merit holders and provides NCUI Scholarship of Rs. 40000/- each to 12 students every year. CICTAB provides Cash Prize of Rs 15,000 each to two Indian Nationals and two foreign nationals based on paper preparation. Pratbha Devi Singh Patil, Former President Medal is awarded to best all rounder. NCUI provides Gold, Silver and Bronze medals to the toppers every year at the time of convocation. Very importantly, we send the toppers to foreign nations for attending Management Development Programmes by meeting all expenses. Usually from which parts of the country do students come for taking education at VAMNICOM? We admit strictly based on AICTE guidelines and conduct admission process through valid National level Entrance scores such as CAT, MAT, XAT, ATMA and CMAT of AICTE and group discussion and personal Interview. What is the placement percentage at VAMNICOM? 100 per cent placement record is maintained by our institute. How does the institute help the students towards invention and innovation to solve some specific problem in agriculture? Does the institute have an incubation cell to encourage students in being inventors and then entrepreneurs? We encourage the students to go for entrepreneurial activity after completing the programme. As the students easily get placed through campus placement before completing the programme and most of the students are from rural area who pursuing the course after availing educational loan are not interested to start their own venture immediately after completion of the course. But as per the alumni interaction, which we have every year, we find many of them have started their venture leaving their jobs after gaining considerable number of years experience. If a student is interested in turning into an entrepreneur, what kind of the assistance he can expect from the Institute? Yes. We have MoU with various institutions with in the country and abroad, we can help in networking with similar type of industry for them. What are your future plans at VAMNICOM? Improving the infrastructure facilities, giving promotion to the deserving and appointment of additional faculty and staff are my future plan for strengthening the sector.