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Digital Crop Survey System


Highlighting that the present system of estimation of crop area and production is completely manual, the Centre has asked states and Union Territories (UTs) to digitise the process by adopting the Digital Crop Survey System from July next year.


GS III: Agriculture

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Need for the Digital Crop Survey
  2. Guidelines for the Digital Crop Survey
  3. Digital Crop Survey Parameters

Need for the Digital Crop Survey:

  • Manual Collection and Compilation: Currently, the collection and compilation of crop statistics in India is largely manual, except in a few states. This manual process leads to delays and is prone to manual errors.
  • Limited Digital Systems: Only a few states, such as Karnataka, Telangana, and Andhra Pradesh, have established digital data collection systems using GPS-enabled mobile applications. These systems are used for collecting crop area and CCEs (Crop Cutting Experiments) data directly from the field. In other states like Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh, digital systems are in place for crop area recording.
  • Reliability of Agricultural Production Estimates: India faces challenges due to the lack of reliable agricultural production estimates. There is a need for real-time assessment estimates of crops to make informed decisions in the agricultural sector.
  • Technological Intervention: Given these challenges, there is a need to reform the existing production estimation system by leveraging technological intervention.

Guidelines for the Digital Crop Survey:

  • The Economics, Statistics and Evaluation Division (ESED) under the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare (MoA&FW) has finalized guidelines for the Digital Crop Survey.
  • According to these guidelines, all states and Union Territories (UTs) are required to automate and digitize the process of area enumeration/girdawari of crops at the field level. This process, referred to as the Digital Crop Survey, is mandated to begin from the 2024-25 Agricultural Year.
  • In India, the agricultural year starts in July and ends in June of the following year.
  • As per the guidelines, states and UTs are expected to use GPS-enabled mobile applications to collect data on crop sowing for each plot during each season. This data is then to be shared at the village level, aggregated, and provided to the Department of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare (DA&FW) through API (Application Programming Interface).

Digital Crop Survey Parameters:

As part of the Digital Crop Survey, states are required to collect data on essential parameters, which include:

  • Village Information: This encompasses details like village name, year, season, farmer ID, and farm ID.
  • Crop Data: For each farm plot, data must be gathered on the crop name, crop variety, crop sown area, and geotags of crop photos.
  • Farm Details: This section covers geotags of the farm boundary where the crop is sown, sowing/planting dates at the farm plot level, irrigation types at the farm plot level, and irrigation sources at the farm plot level.
Survey Initiation:
  • The central government initiated a pilot Digital Crop Survey in several states earlier this year, which laid the groundwork for this nationwide effort.
Revised Estimate Release Timeline:
  • In a separate development, the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare (MoA&FW) has revised the timelines for releasing agricultural estimates.
  • Under the previous system, the ministry used to release estimates in five phases. However, the fourth phase, typically released in August, has been discontinued.
  • Instead, the ministry will now release the final estimates that encompass all states and all seasons (kharif, rabi, summer) in September-October.
  • This marks a significant departure from the previous practice, where final estimates were released in the following February.

-Source: Indian Express

December 2023