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Monday 27 January 2020

‘Data, AI to be game-changers in Indian farm sector’

We run different agricultural schemes and have huge data under each scheme. We can leverage that data for better targeting of the scheme: Agriculture Secretary Sanjay Aggarwal

Artificial intelligence and big data are going to be a “game-changers” in the agriculture sector, and the government is aiming to collate about 80 per cent of such data by 2020, Agriculture Secretary Sanjay Aggarwal said on Thursday.

The government realised to leverage the data of farmers while rolling out the PM-KISAN scheme under which Rs 6,000 is paid annually directly to the farmers as income support, he said.

“We run different agricultural schemes and have huge data under each scheme. We can leverage that data for better targeting of the scheme. By 2020, we should be having 80% of farmers data collated and it will be a game-changer,” Aggarwal said addressing the third India Agriculture Outlook Forum here.

The data will help in framing the right policy and converge some projects in order to achieve the targeted development of farmers and the overall sector, he said.

Already, the government has started collating the data of farmers registered under the major schemes. There is data related to soil health, Kisan Credit Cards, crop insurance and even land holdings that are getting digitised, he added.

The secretary further said that a pilot project is being implemented along with help of IT firm IBM in four districts to provide farm and village level weather forecast and soil moisture. On the PM-KISAN scheme, he said the scheme is not only providing income support but also boosting the confidence level of farmers. About 85 million farmers have registered under the scheme and the government has disbursed the first instalment amounting $ 3.5 billion so far, he said.

The secretary also talked about the progress in the crop insurance scheme and how technology is being used to assess the crop damage.

On the problem of scarcity of some crops especially oilseeds, he said that the government has achieved self-sufficiency in pulses, and steps are being taken to achieve the same in oilseeds and reduce the country’s dependence on edible oil imports.

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