Use of Information Technology in Agriculture (India)

i) IT Apparatus in Department of Agriculture and Cooperation Headquarters :

The thrust of the ICT initiatives in on e-Governance, i.e., to make improved services accessible to farmers using information and Communication Technology. The Department of Agriculture and Cooperation is preparing National e- Governance Plan in Agriculture (NeGP-A) with the help of National Institute of Smart Government (NISG), Hyderabad. It is being implemented in two phases. Phase- I of NeGP-A has been completed and a list of prioritized services to be targeted and processes to be re-engineered under E- governance activities is concluded. Phase-II will provide detailed strategy, road map and guidelines for implementation of e- Governance in Agriculture at both Central and State levels. Phase-II will also define the role of private sector and civil society. Process for Phase-II is underway. For success of the e-Governance initiative, it is necessary that adequate hardware, software and training support is provided at various levels.

ii) IT Apparatus in the field Offices and Directorate of DAC :

Under the DACNET Project, the Directorates/field units have already been provided basic infrastructure which has helped in achieving e-readiness. It has been decided that respective Directorates and field offices would meet their expenditure from out of their budget. However, the residual expenditure on networking, software development and training for Field Offices/Directorates will be met from this component of the scheme.

iii) Agricultural Resources Information System (ARIS) :

This component of the X Plan Scheme is aimed to develop decision support system for optimum utilization of natural resources using GIS and RS technology. Work on two pilot districts of Rohtak in Haryana and Banaskantha in Gujarat is continuing. This component will be subsumed in the DACNET component of the scheme during the XI Plan and will
be supported for completion of the ongoing pilot project.

iv) Development of Agricultural Informatics and Communication :

The objective of this component is to build a reservoir of all data related to agriculture and development of web-based applications. A number of portals such as digitization of Soul Mapping, Data, Seed Net Portal, Data warehousing, RFS and Watershed Development are under various stages of development. The Development/enrichment of portals of various subjects of agriculture is a continuous process. It is also proposed to have portals on INM, Horticulture and Cooperatives etc. As the number of portals and the quantity and expansion of content increase over the years, there will be a need to have proper infrastructure for updation of content. It is expected that over time, regular data updating and designing of web content will require manpower. It is proposed to partly outsource such activities.

v) Strengthening of IT Apparatus in Agriculture and Cooperation in the States and Union Territories (AGRISNET) :

States have a major role in providing improved services to the farmers through the use of ICT. The present component of AGRISNET is proposed to be continued in the XI Plan and further strengthened. Till date 21 States have so far availed of assistance under AGRISNET. In these States too, funds been released mostly for implementation of limited E-Governance applications in ATMA districts. Therefore, the scheme needs to be expanded multifold for providing improved services to farmers throughout the country. It is also proposed that based on the experience gained in the X Plan, more services are covered under AGRISNET.

vi) Kissan Call Centres :

This scheme was launched on 21st January, 2004. It aims to provide online information to farmers through toll free No. 1880-180-1551. This facility is being publicized through Doordarshan and radio programmes. The whole country is covered under the scheme. A Knowledge Management System is proposed to be established. It is proposed to continue this scheme during the XI Plan also.