Category – E-Agriculture & Livelihood
Reuters Market Light Direct – INDIA
RML is a pioneering service that provides highly customized and localized agricultural information to Indian farmers using mobile phones messaging services. The subscription‐based service provides each individual farmer with a choice to receive information about over 150 crop types in more than 1,000 markets. On average, each farmer receives four messages each day providing information about the local weather forecast, local market prices, relevant news for the two types of crops chosen, aps about harvestng, proper fertlizer usage, irrigation methods, seed and soil combinations and more.
In a country where approximately eight million new mobile phone users connect to networks each month and where 60 per cent of the population is dependent on agriculture, RML is leading the way to provide easy‐to‐use information to a vast farming community
By one estimate, a farmer in India gets as litle as 25% of the ﬁnal price of his produce as against 40%‐50% in the developed world. The chief cause for this is the lack of information regarding prices, which does not allow the farmer to bargain and obtain the correct value for his crop. Besides crop prices, millions of Indian farmers do not have affordable access to timely weather forecast and other decision‐critical information which leads to reduced yields and increased wastage.
RML is attemptng to correct this lacuna in information infrastructure and positively inﬂuence the earnings and livelihood of India’s 250 million farmers. RML grants the farmers the power to negotiate better, decide when and at which market to sell, take precautions based on localized forecasts, improve their sowing and cultivation practices and access timely support offered through various government schemes.
REUTERS MARKET LIGHT
NEW DELHI, DELHI, INDIA
MULTILINGUAL – 8 INDIAN
Transparent Targeted Public Distribution System – INDIA
The Targeted Public Distribution System (TPDS), budgeted at around Rs. 25,000 crore annually, is affected by targetting errors (both inclusion and exclusion errors), spurious beneficiaries and diversion. The success of TPDS depends largely on the ability of State Governments in identifying genuine poor families and putting in place an effecttive and efficient delivery system. To accomplish these objectives, the Food and Civil Supplies Department of the Uttar Pradesh Government launched this initiative.
Under the project, the digitization of ration cards was carried out, provision of free SMS alerts to ration card holders on lifting of rations was made and dates for lifting and distribution of rations to card holders were fixed according to a roster. Already,
around 119.63 lakhs ration cards have been uploaded and over 21.6 lakhs bogus ration cards have been cancelled. The details of the ration cards can be accessed by anyone on the departmental website. As a result, efficiency and effectiveness of operations has been achieved,greater transparency has strengthened the TPDS and better delivery ensured to the public.
TPDS was initiated in 1997 as an important policy instrument designed to reduce hunger by delivering food grains at highly subsidised prices to the population below the poverty line. However, a performance evaluation of the TPDS conducted by the Planning Commission in 2005 found that about 58 per cent of the subsidized food grains issued from the central pool do not reach the BPL families. Moreover, due to faults in the execution of TDPS, one rupee of budgetary consumer subsidy is worth only 27 paise to the poor.
It has been established with certainty that the adoption of technology rectifies the deficiencies and incorrect practices that plague the implementation of virtually all government welfare schemes. Although ICT may not be the answer for all maladies, yet, it can solve a great many problems, particularly those of pilferage and spurious beneficiaries as proven by this undertaking.
TRANSPARENT TARGETED PUBLIC DISTRIBUTION SYSTEM
FOOD & CIVIL SUPPLIES DEPARTMENT, UTTAR PRADESH
LUCKNOW, UTTAR PRADESH, INDIA
ENGLISH & HINDI
e-Krishi – INDIA
Implemented by Kerala State IT Mission, the e-Krishi project aims at facilitating and enabling farmers and other stakeholders through IT enabled Agri-Business Centres to interact with agricultural service providers in the private, government and non-government sectors. Besides providing agricultural information and advice to farmers, the initiative is also a means of making many other services available including marketing agricultural products – both selling and buying, access to warehouses, access to schemes and subsidies, grading of agricultural produce, access to micro credit, soil testing and so on. The major agri‐procurement agencies of Kerala state, including Agmarknet, NAFED and Milma etc. were also brought into the network, thus assuring a fair price and assured market for the farmers, eliminang middle men.
The e-Krishi initiative shows how government agencies can partner with community organisations like self-help groups and farmer’s clubs to develop ICT-enabled local agriculture services that can empower the citizens.
Gaps in information flow and marketing infrastructure have made certain that farmers typically get very low prices for their products. Several layers of intermediaries exploit the situation and take away a disproportionately large share of the profits without providing commensurate value addition. The present project is unique in that it helps the farmers to get better price for the product and better exposure. An important factor in the success of this initiative has been the fact that it has utilized the ICT infrastructure and the existing linkages of the Akshaya e‐Kendra entrepreneurs with the local community of farmers, local self‐government institutions and the traders in the locality. As the credibility of these Akshaya centres was already established within the communities, their accessibility and ownership by the local farmers to access e‐Krishi services was no longer a challenge.
E-KRISHI – MARKET DRIVEN AGRICULTURAL INITIATIVE THROUGH IT ENABLED AGRI BUSINESS CENTRES IN KERALA STATE
KERALA STATE IT MISSION
TRIVANDRUM, KERALA, INDIA