National database created with records of 5.5 cr. farmers

Centre hopes to cover 8 cr. farmers by linking it to State land record databases: Tomar

September 06, 2021 11:19 pm | Updated 11:19 pm IST - NEW DELHI

All covered: The Centre has urged the States to create their own databases of farmers using the national database.

All covered: The Centre has urged the States to create their own databases of farmers using the national database.

The Centre has created a National Farmers’ Database with records of 5.5 crore farmers, which it hopes to increase to 8 crore farmers by December by linking it to State land record databases, according to Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar.

Addressing Chief Ministers at a virtual conference on agriculture on Monday, Mr. Tomar said the farmers’ database was key to advances in digital agriculture. “Agriculture has to be linked with digital technology, scientific research and knowledge,” he said, according to an official statement

Mr. Tomar explained that the national database was created by taking data from existing national schemes such as PM-KISAN, soil health cards and the insurance scheme PM Fasal Bima Yojna. So far, 5.5 crore farmers had been identified in this manner.

The Agriculture Minister urged States to create their own databases using the national database’s federated structure and also allow linkages to the land records maintained by the States. With the help of State governments, a total of eight crore farmers would be included by the end of the year, he said. He also urged them to study the Karnataka model for digital agriculture presented at the conference.

In July, Mr. Tomar had told the Lok Sabha that the database could be used “for targeted service delivery with higher efficiency and in a focussed & time bound manner” and that it was the core for the proposed Agristack digital agriculture ecosystem. Already, companies like Microsoft, Amazon and Patanjali had been asked to develop technology solutions for farmers using data from the database. Activists have raised some privacy and consent concerns about using farmers’ data in such a way, and also asked why landless farmers are excluded.

Chief Ministers and Agriculture Ministers of 15 States participated on the first day of the conference, which was addressed by Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal as well as Mr. Tomar. Apart from digital agriculture, other key topics were the Agriculture Infrastructure Fund, a new mission on oilseeds and oil palm, and the exports of farm products, the statement said.

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