1. News

Government to Create Hi-Tech National Farmers’ Database for the First Time in History

Chintu Das
Chintu Das
Digital Database

According to people familiar with the situation, the Govt. is in the course of constructing a "digital agri-stack," a high-tech national farmers' repository that could provide the government and agribusinesses with groundbreaking perspectives into the agricultural sector for the first time.

The officials added that the data archive would help in the detailed selection of subsidies, programs, and policies. Every farmer in the nation will be given a FID, or farmers' ID, which will be connected to land records and used to identify a specific farmer. In India, there are 140 million active farmland holdings.

Officials said the government is also working on a single farmer support portal to better digitise the distribution of agricultural services by the public and private sectors. “The data of 4.3 crore (43 million) farmers connected to the land registry has already been checked, and the database will be released soon,” a source said on condition of anonymity.

The database would connect apparently unrelated data points, such as the number of occupational farmers who receive subsidies, the amount of land they possess, the crops they cultivate, and the agro-climatic zones in which they operate. “These data points would be triangulated by algorithms, resulting in a much more nuanced yet insightful image of the rural and agricultural economy,” the official said. The official went on to say that the next move will be to develop a model for monetizing the results.

The database is being developed under the National e-Governance Plan in Agriculture, which was initiated in the fiscal year 2010-11 and uses Aadhaar-based data produced from key farm sector programs such as PM-KISAN, a cash-transfer programme.

The Centre's Council on Doubling Farmers' Income has proposed improving digital strategies in the farm sector using technologies like remote sensing, GIS, data mining, cloud storage, and drones. The centralised farmers' database, according to a second official, would be used to help target subsidies such as fertilisers, low-cost seed insurance, and the distribution of mobile-based crop recommendations.

Agricultural subsidies worth thousands of crores like low-cost insurance, fertilisers, credit, and income transfers continue to be squandered due to a lack of centrally accessible knowledge regarding individual farmers. For example, although the government is aware of India's annual fertiliser demand, it has no means of understanding how much fertiliser a single farmer may require, which varies greatly depending on crops and soil conditions.

Presently, there is no restriction to the quantity of subsidised fertilisers that a farmer can purchase. “So, anyone who really needs five bags of urea could buy ten and sell the rest on the open market,” the second official explained. The Centre spends over 75,000 crore on fertiliser subsidies a year. The government intends to replace fertiliser subsidies with "money payments" in the future.

Such cash transactions are likely to meet “accurate targeting” barriers, as per MicroSave Consulting, which evaluated the fertiliser subsidy scheme for the state-run think tank Niti Aayog. Its study emphasized the need for a repository for farmers. According to the official, an Aadhaar-enabled portal that maps particular farm sizes, cropping patterns, and agro-climatic zones will generate district-level sets of data to prevent aid leakages.

Like this article?

Hey! I am Chintu Das. Did you liked this article and have suggestions to improve this article? Mail me your suggestions and feedback.

Share your comments

Subscribe to our Newsletter. You choose the topics of your interest and we'll send you handpicked news and latest updates based on your choice.

Subscribe Newsletters