Solan, May 21 (IANS) President Ram Nath Kovind on Monday refused to accept an honorary doctorate that was to be conferred on him by the horticulture and forestry university at its annual convocation in Nauni near here.
The Dr Y.S. Parmar University of Horticulture and Forestry planned to confer a Doctorate of Science (D.Sc) degree on President Kovind, who gave away degrees and gold medals to meritorious students at the ninth convocation of the varsity.
“The President refused to receive the honorary degree,” a university official told IANS.
“I respect your sentiments but I can’t accept it,” the official quoting the President as saying.
Himachal Governor and University Chancellor Acharya Devvrat and Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur were present on the occasion.
The President awarded eight gold medals at the event. Speaking in Hindi on the occasion, he said that the goal of education should not be limited to only getting a job.
Students can start their own enterprises by using their skills and learning, he added.
The President also urged the students to take advantage of various schemes and initiatives of the union and state governments to set up their businesses in the agricultural sector.
“There is immense potential in the field of fruit and vegetable processing. With their knowledge and enterprise, graduates from the university could help consumers in the country and abroad get better food products and help farmers get better value for their produce.”
He said that increasing the income of farmers and development of rural India is the country’s top priority.
Kovind said that research in horticulture and forestry held a special significance for farmers in mountainous states such as Himachal Pradesh.
Over the past three decades, the university has contributed significantly to the advancement of horticulture and forestry in the state.
The President congratulated the students for choosing to pursue education in the agricultural sector.
He said that he considered each student and teacher of this university to be a technically equipped friend and partner of the farmers of Himachal Pradesh, as well as those in other parts of the country.
Kovind is currently in the hill state on a five-day holiday.
The Governor, in his address, said that in order to promote zero-budget natural farming in the state, the university is implementing its farming model on its campus.
He said zero-budget natural farming would not only help in environmental conservation but also produce healthy food.