To ease the implementation process of farmer-related government schemes, the Indian government will launch an Aadhaar-authenticated digital database of farmers in June.
Currently, the government has a database of beneficiaries for soil health cards, Kisan Credit Cards, crop insurance scheme, PM-KISAN and other government schemes. Now all the database will be linked and integrated and one Aadhaar-authenticated data, which will be used as a reference point for all government-run schemes, will be created. Bringing all databases under one umbrella is expected to help the government reach only the authentic beneficiaries.
“This will be used as a master database for implementing any farmer-related government schemes. The database will be a consolidation of all kinds of genuine lists of farmers available with the government,” agriculture secretary Sanjay Agrawal told ET.
The database will reportedly be launched with 60 Mn farmers. Their landholdings will also be mapped. “We have started the exercise. We have asked states to verify the landholdings of the farmers. In the PM-KISAN scheme itself we have got a database of more than 9 Cr farmers. Out of which, 84% are now aadhaar-authenticated. This is an ongoing process and we will keep updating it,” he said.
The master database of farmers is aimed to help the government identify the needs of farmers based on their landholdings and the crop varieties they produce. “The government is discussing ways to reduce use of chemicals and fertilisers to boost the productivity of land,” Jai Shankar Mishra, director at Lucknow-based think tank Agriculture Research and Economic Development Institute told ET.
The Indian agriculture sector accounts for 18 % of India’s gross domestic product (GDP). While India is the world’s largest producer of rice, wheat, spices, pulses and others, it also has been struggling with issues of fragmented land-holdings, depletion of soil, erratic rainfall and lack of technology.
Agritech startups are trying to address these issues by leveraging advanced technologies like artificial intelligence (AI), Internet of Things (IoT), big data, drone technology among others and create new solutions in the sector.
According to DataLabs by Inc42, the agritech sector recorded total funding of $244.59 Mn in 2019, an increase of over 350% in the amount of funding in the agritech sector from the previous year. Agritech startups raised $66.6 Mn (INR 463 Cr) in 2018 and the total funding in the agritech space in 2017 was $46.1 Mn (INR 320 Cr). Some of the notable startups in the agritech sector in India include Bijak, Vegfru, Lemon Leaf, DayBox, Crofarm, WayCool, CropIn, Fasal, and Kamatan Farm tech.