National e-Governance Plan in Agriculture (NeGPA): Towards the Mission of Digital Agriculture
- A Centrally Sponsored Scheme namely National e-Governance Plan in Agriculture (NeGPA) was initially launched in 2010-11 in 7 pilot States, which aims to achieve rapid development in India through use of Information & Communication Technology (ICT) for timely access to agriculture related information to the farmers.
- In 2014-15, the scheme was further extended for all the remaining States and 2 UTs. The scheme has been extended up to 31.03.2021.
- Under Phase-II of the scheme, funds were released to States for carrying out the activities viz. site preparation of offices for installation of hardware and establishment of computer training labs, procurement, installation and accounting of hardware/system software.
- The back-up power arrangements, wherever required, Setting-up of State Project Management Unit (SPMUs) and hiring of manpower on contract basis, connectivity for the locations for installation of hardware and Data Digitization Customization of applications as per State/UT’s specific requirements.
- Realizing the significance of new digital & emerging technologies, the Committee on Doubling Farmers’ Income (DFI) has recommended further expanding and augmenting of the digital agriculture initiatives of Government of India.
- The report focused on modern management of agriculture viz. Remote Sensing; Geographical Information System; Data Analytics and Cloud Computing; Artificial Intelligence & Machine Learning; Internet of Things; Robotics, Drones & Sensors and Block-chain.
- In order to infuse modern information technologies in the farm sector, the NeGPA guidelines were amended in 2020-21 and funds were released for sanctioning projects for customization / shifting of web & mobile applications already developed by the States, to the platform to be developed using digital/emerging technologies.
- Several States have come forward to utilize this amended policy and accordingly pilot projects have been sanctioned in various States to make use of emerging technologies.
- Besides, the new initiatives of creating Farmers’ Database, Unified Farmers Service Platform (UFSP) etc would bring a paradigm change in accessing the data relating to farmers and can be used to develop customised solutions, make better plans and monitor their implementation.
Unified Farmer Service Platform (UFSP):
UFSP is a combination of Core Infrastructure, Data, Applications and Tools that enable seamless interoperability of various public and private IT systems in the agriculture ecosystem across the country. UFSP is envisaged to play the following role:
- Act as a central agency in the agri ecosystem (like UPI in the e Payments)
- Enables Registration of the Service Providers, public and private
- Enables Registration of the Farmer Services G2F, G2B, B2F and B2B
- Enforces various rules and validations required during the service delivery process
- Acts as a Repository of all the applicable standards, API’s and formats
- It shall also act as a medium of data exchange amongst various schemes and services to enable comprehensive delivery of services to the farmer.
For better planning, monitoring, policy making, strategy formulation and smooth implementation of schemes for the farmers a nationwide Farmers Database linked with land records is being created with the following objective:
- Develop nationwide database of farmers
- Keep a record of unique farmers.
- Unique farmer ID (FID) to uniquely identify a farmer
- To know benefits availed by a farmer under various schemes
This Centralized Farmers Database shall be useful for various activities like issuing soil health cards, dissemination of crop advisories to the farmers, precision farming, smart cards for farmers to facilitate e-governance, crop insurance, settlement of compensation- claims, grant of agricultural subsidies, community/village resource centres etc. The data of 4.3 crore farmers linked with land records have already been verified and the database would be unveiled shortly.
Farm Mechanisation in the Country
- The Government as a policy is promoting ‘Make in India’ products and encouraging domestic manufacturers for manufacturing agricultural machinery and equipments through Research & Development support, skill development, simplification of rules and procedures for testing of machines and equipments, preference to make in India products in public procurement and to provide level playing field to domestic manufacturers, import restriction under Foreign Trade Policy, etc.
- To boost the farm mechanization in the country, a special dedicated scheme Sub Mission on Agriculture Mechanization (SMAM) has been introduced by the Government under which the subsidy is provided for purchase of various types of agricultural equipments and machinery to the extent of 40-50% for States other than NER States and for NER States it is 100% limited to Rs.1.25 lakhs per beneficiary.
- The objective of the Agriculture Infrastructure Fund (AIF) is to mobilize a medium – long term debt finances facility for investment in viable projects for post-harvest management Infrastructure and community farming assets through incentives and financial support in order to improve agriculture infrastructure in the country. The scheme will facilitate setting up and modernization of key elements of the value chain.
- As mentioned above, AIF provides a financial facility to set up custom hiring centers for creating community farm assets. The benefit for other machinery such as tractor, combine harvesters, etc., can be availed under other schemes of this Ministry.
National Creche Scheme
- Ministry of Women and Child Development implements the National Crèche Scheme for the children of working mothers as a Centrally Sponsored Scheme through States/ UTs with effect from 01.01.2017 to provide day care facilities to children (age group of 6 months to 6 years) of working mothers. The Scheme provides an integrated package of the following services:
- Day care facilities including sleeping facilities.
- Early stimulation for children below 3 years and pre-school education for 3 to 6 years old children
- Supplementary nutrition (to be locally sourced)
- Growth monitoring
- Health check-up and immunization
As per the guidelines of this scheme, the concerned States/ UTs undertake survey based analysis of the requirement of crèche services at the district level along with mapping of existing crèches so as to assess the demand of crèches in State/ UTs.
Government gives utmost priority to ensuring gender equality in all spheres of life and has taken several steps to ensure that women do not face any gender based disadvantage. Some of the steps taken by the Government in this direction as well as for increasing the participation of women in the economy include the following:
- Mahila Shakti Kendra Scheme: The scheme aims to facilitate inter-sectoral convergence of schemes and programs meant for empowerment of women both at the central and State/UT level.
- Swadhar Greh Scheme: The Scheme caters to women victims of unfortunate circumstances in need of institutional support for rehabilitation, so that they can lead their life with dignity.
- Ujjawala Scheme: It is a comprehensive scheme for prevention of trafficking of women and children for commercial sexual exploitation, as well as for facilitating rescue, rehabilitation and re-integration of victims into their families and society as needed.
- Working Women’s Hostel Scheme: This scheme promotes availability of safe and conveniently located accommodation for working women, with day care facilities for their children, wherever possible, in urban, semi-urban, and even rural areas, where employment opportunities for women exist.
- Anganwadi Services: The Scheme envisages setting up of Anganwadi centers across the country for children and caters to the pre-school education, nutrition of children and lactating mothers.
- POSHAN Abhiyan: The scheme aims to reduce mal-nutrition/ undernutrition, among young children and women from the country in a phased manner.
- Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana (PMMVY) Scheme: The Scheme provides cash incentives amounting to Rs.5000 in 3 installments to pregnant and lactating mothers.
- Beti Bachao Beti Padhao (BBBP): Objective of the scheme is to celebrate the girl child by preventing gender biased sex selective elimination, ensuring survival protection, education, and participation.
- Home for Widows : A Home for Widows has been set up in Vrindavan, UP to provide widows a safe and secure place to stay and live their lives with dignity.