Friday, April 6, 2018

Agricultural Economist - United Nations Development Programme

1. POSITION VACANT:  Agricultural Economist, Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare (MoA&FW) for the UNDP Project: “Technical Support Unit for Management of Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana”, New Delhi
Indian agricultural producers make a critical economic contribution to the country but face a number of challenges in securing household income and ensuring food security. A key challenge comprises crop failures and yield losses, triggered by the vagaries of climate. These put at risk the livelihood of a large proportion of India’s population viz. 138 million farm families, constituting the largest private enterprise and contributing more than 18% contribution to national GDP. Agricultural production shocks have huge social and financial repercussions, impacting rural income levels, Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and poverty rates.

The Government of India’s flagship scheme Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY), compensates farmers for crop losses.  The scheme insures farmers against a wide range of external risks — droughts, dry spells, floods, inundation, pests and diseases, landslides, natural fire and lightning, hailstorms, cyclones, typhoons, tempests, hurricanes and tornadoes.  While insuring farmers against crop losses is not a new initiative, the PMFBY constitutes a serious attempt to plug gaps identified in earlier crop insurance schemes viz. the National Agriculture Insurance Scheme (NAIS) introduced in 1999 and the Modified NAIS (mNAIS) introduced in 2011.
PMFBY came into operation from 1 April 2016, with a Central Government budget allocation of Rs 5,500 crore for 2016–17. The Central Government plans to bring 40 per cent of agricultural area under PMFBY in 2017–18 and, accordingly, a provision of about Rs 9,000 crore has been made for the scheme in the 2017–18 budget.
PMFBY promotes sustainable agriculture production through:
(1) Financial support to farmers against crop losses due to climactic or external shocks;
(2) Securing incomes;
(3) Improved, modern and innovative farming practices for better yield;
(4) Enhanced credit availability to the agricultural sector.
UNDP’s Country Programme Document (2018-2022) approved by the Government of India defines “Institutional and Systems Strengthening for Service Delivery” to be one of its foremost programme priorities and the single most important innovation for achieving last mile developmental impact. UNDP shall leverage its expertise in systems strengthening to support the Ministry of Agriculture to set up a Technical Support Unit (TSU) for the implementation of PMFBY, to improve institutional and programme responsiveness, increase coverage and better access among marginalised and excluded farm households, offering innovative measures for risk management and reduced crop loss for the rural population in India.
The TSU will focus on providing Capacity Building and Training support to participating state-level government departments involved in PMFBY and advancing the scheme among new states for improved uptake.
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Under the guidance and supervision of the Senior Remote Sensing Specialist, the Agricultural Economistshall be responsible for supporting the management of the Crop Cutting Experiments (CCE) technology solutions programme, at the state level.
Key Job Responsibilities:
(A) Technology Solutions for Crop Cutting Experiments (CCE) 
(1) Application of Remote Sensing Technology (RST) to CCE sampling locations and density;
(2) Application of mobile technology to CCE;
(3) Research and development into RST for Crop Yield Estimation to complement CCE, particularly focusing on the states;
(4) Provision of training inputs on the application of RST and mobile technology to CCE, as necessary.
(B) Liaison
(1) Close liaison with Indian and specialist Remote Sensing Institutes, Universities and other organisations, doing research in technology applications in agriculture, for crop damage and yield estimation;
(2) Liaising with UNDP, Ministry of Agriculture, relevant government agencies and all project partners, for effective coordination of all project inputs;
(3) Provision of technical backstopping for inputs to training activities supported by the project;
(4) Provision of inputs for the timely submission of progress reports, as required by UNDP and the Ministry of Agriculture;
(5) Fostering partnerships with key national and state government departments and relevant technical institutions working on technology solutions for CCE and Agriculture;
(6) Provision of support to the Senior Remote Sensing Specialist for the successful achievement of project objectives.
(C) Other Tasks
Any other tasks consistent with the level of the post and/or assigned by the Head – TSU; Joint Secretary, DoAC&FW, MoA&FW.
Applicants must have a Master’s in Agricultural Economics, or Agronomy, or equivalent.
(1) Five to eight years of demonstrable experience in the insurance sector;
(2) Crop Cutting experience in India, to manage implementation of the CCE technology solutions program, in coordination with state level agencies;
(3) Relevant experience of working at the national level with Government and/or Private Entities in the insurance sector.
(1) Candidates with prior experience of working with Central and/or State Governments/ International Agencies, on similar assignments, will be preferred;
(2) Prior experience of providing technical advisory services in the insurance sector, shall be an advantage.
Skills and Competencies:
Core Competencies
(1) Strong integrity and ethical standards;
(2) Alignment with the Vision, Mission, and Strategic Goals of the organization;
Job Knowledge/ Technical Skills
(1) Sound knowledge and experience in remote sensing application, particularly in agriculture and soils;
(2) Broad based knowledge of current rural insurance and finance schemes, outreach to insurers and implementing agencies;
(3) Experience of crop loss modelling, or agricultural statistics, will be an advantage;
(4) Substantive technical knowledge to do full justice to the responsibilities and requirements of the post;
(5) Knowledge and capability to handle strategic planning, results-based management and reporting.
Communication Skills
(1) Good communication skills;
(2) Ability to carry out research and communicate strategic advice that guides decisions on strategic programme directions;
(3) Ability to tailor and present information to diverse audiences using a variety of communication delivery methods (e.g., written, electronic, oral, interpersonal), including documentation;
(4) Good interpersonal skills and ability to establish and maintain effective partnerships and working relations with people in a multi-cultural, multi-ethnic environment with sensitivity and respect for diversity.
Management Skills
(1) Demonstrated skills in connecting with a wide range of stakeholders viz. insurance agencies, farmer organisations, state agencies, etc.;
(2) Ability to participate in and independently organise consultative meetings at the national and state level with partners and senior stakeholders, for identifying priorities and managing the timely delivery of project activities;
(3) Ability to consistently deliver results (both individual and as part of a team), even under difficult circumstances;
(4) Excellent work/ project planning skills;
(5) Openness to change and the ability to manage complex, ever-changing environments.
Language Requirements
Excellent oral and written skills in English and Hindi.
The remuneration package budgeted for the position is INR 1,44,204/- per month (taxable). (Note: UNDPoffers additional benefits which include medical insurance coverage and limited pension reimbursement for the contract holder. UNDP encourages work life balance).
6. LOCATION: New Delhi
7. APPOINTMENT: The incumbent shall initially be offered a one-year service contract (renewable). The post level is SB-4/ Peg 2.
Senior Consultant
Strategic Alliance Management Services P Ltd.
1/1B, Choudhary Hetram House, Bharat Nagar
New Friends Colony, New Delhi 110 025
Phone Nos.: 011- 2684 2162; 4165 3612
Eligible candidates interested in this position are requested to urgently apply to, along with a cover letter highlighting their motivation to apply and suitability for the position, along with an updated resume including names and contact details of at least two referees, by or before April 12, 2018.
Candidates are urged to apply immediately, as tele-interviews with strong applicants, are likely to be initiated almost right away.

UNDP strives to have a workforce which reflects diversity and gender balance and applies an equal opportunities approach. All selections are on merit.

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