Conduct digital crop survey from July 2024: Centre to states – The Indian Express

Highlighting that the present system of estimation of crop area and production is “completely manual”, resulting in “delay” and “manual errors”, the
Centre has asked states and Union Territories to digitise the process by adopting the Digital Crop Survey system from July next year.
According to sources, the Economics, Statistics and Evaluation Division (ESED), which comes under the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare, has finalised the guidelines coming up with agricultural production estimates, and has shared them with states and UTs.
“All states/ UTs shall automate/digitise the process of area enumeration/girdawari of crops at field level, i.e. Digital Crop Survey, from 2024-25 Agricultural Year,” the guidelines said. In India, the agriculture year begins in July and ends in June, the following year.
Under the guidelines, states and UTs “shall use GPS enabled mobile application for collecting crop sown data of each plot for each season and share the village level aggregated data with DA&FW (Department of Agriculture & Farmers’ Welfare) through API only.”
According to the ministry, currently, the collection and compilation of crop statistics is “completely manual” except in a few states, resulting in “delay” and “manual errors”.
“Only a few of the states like Karnataka, Telangana, and Andhra Pradesh have established a digital data collection system in the form of GPS-enabled mobile applications for crop area and CCEs data collection directly from the field. States like Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh have also developed such digital systems but only for crop area recording,” a source said. “A need was felt to reform the existing production estimation system through the use of technological intervention,” the source added.
Questions have been raised about agricultural production data under the existing system, with Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman saying in Spetember that India “suffers” for want of reliable agricultural production estimates and stressing on the need for “a real time assessment estimate” of crops.
Under the guidelines issued by ESED, states must develop a digital application for “recording weekly sowing progress, and the same is to be shared with DA&FW through API on a weekly basis”.
As part of the Digital Crop Survey, the ministry has asked states to collect information on “basic parameters”, including village name, year, season, farmer ID, farm ID, crop name (at farm plot level), crop variety, crop sown area (at farm plot level), geotags of crop photos, geotags of farm boundary where the crop is sown, sowing/planting date (at farm plot level), irrigation type (at farm plot level), and irrigation source (at farm plot level).
This move comes after the Centre launched a pilot Digital Crop Survey across a dozen states earlier this year.
In a separate move, the ministry has also revamped the timelines of the estimate release. As per the earlier system, the ministry used to release estimates in five phases. However, now the ministry has decided to do away with the fourth phase that had been released every August. The ministry will release the final estimates covering all states and all seasons (kharif, rabi, summer) in September-October. Earlier, the final estimates used to be released in the month of February, the following year.
Harikishan SharmaHarikishan SharmaHarikishan Sharma, Senior Assistant Editor at The Indian Express' Nati… read more


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