4.22.1 For a comprehensive appraisal of the agricultural economy, information on inputs such as fertiliser, pesticides, agricultural credit, multiple cropping, inventory of agricultural machinery and implements, mechanism of plant protection, quarantine and storage, etc. are of as much importance as the data on production. The input surveys conducted as a part of quinquennial Agricultural Census are an important source for such data. However, the latest available data pertain to the Input Survey 1991-92. More recent information on production, distribution and stocks held of fertilisers is available from the Fertiliser Association of India (FAI), but it does not provide details of actual consumption.
4.22.2 The Agricultural Implements and Machinery Division of the Department of Agriculture has been compiling and maintaining statistics relating to production and sale of tractors and power tillers from Tractors Manufacturing Association and Manufacturers of Tractors and Power Tillers.
4.22.3 Plant protection, quarantine and storage is another area where though data are collected, they are not compiled and maintained as an organised database. The Directorate of Plant Protection, Quarantine and Storage (PPQ&S) in the Ministry of Agriculture is the apex organisation in India for promoting plant protection. The Directorate advises and assists the Union Government on all matters relating to plant protection including international obligations, besides assisting the State Governments in their plant protection activities. Large amount of data are collected through Rapid Roving Surveys under the Pest Surveillance and Monitoring. In these surveys, the Surveillance Teams of the different Central Integrated Pest Management Centres move through intensive crop belts on predetermined routes at regular intervals, stop at regular distances and collect information on weather, crop stage and status, and pest and disease situation in the fields on both sides of the road. The Locust Warning Organisation of the Directorate entrusted with the task of monitoring and controlling locusts over an area of 2 lakh square kilometres in the desert areas across Rajasthan, Gujarat and Haryana collects information on locust development and movement together with related aspects. This information is Centrally collated and a fortnightly locust situation bulletin is brought out and circulated to various organisations including the Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO). In addition, data are collected on several other parameters relating to the plant protection and quarantine, by the Directorate of Plant Protection, Quarantine and Storage.
4.22.4 Data on inputs to agriculture are also being collected through Crop Estimation Surveys, as well as the sample check on Crop Cutting Experiments under the scheme for Improvement of Crop Statistics.
4.22.5 Though some data on fertilisers are available from the input survey and from publications of the Fertiliser Association of India, they are incomplete and not available in time.
4.22.6 The collection and compilation of data with reference to agricultural implements and machinery is limited to tractors and power tillers and that too depends only on the data supplied by the manufacturers. The information is very often not complete and there is no scientific mechanism for collecting statistics in this area. Data on farm practices and farm management are not available, though these are very much required for an understanding of the farm practices.
4.22.7 Though a lot of statistics on plant protection, quarantine and storage flow into the headquarters of the Directorate of PPQ&S, they are not being fully compiled. The data have also not been organised for effective long-term use. The Directorate does not have enough statistical support and the existing ‘statistics and computer unit’ with only one Deputy Director and a Data Processing Assistant is not adequate.
Conclusions and Recommendations
4.22.8The Commission recommends that:
The Directorate of Economics and Statistics, Ministry of Agriculture (DESMOA) should collect, compile and maintain a complete database on State-wise production, sale of tractors, power tillers, harvesters and other agricultural implements, density of such implements per hectare, investment made, level of mechanisation, adoption of water saving devices, etc.
A Farm Management Survey on an all-India basis should be conducted on a regular basis preferably at an interval of five years.
The Directorate of Plant Protection, Quarantine and Storage (PPQ&S) being the apex body for plant protection should act as a depository of information on plant protection. Efforts should be made to design, develop and maintain a comprehensive database on plant protection for effective long-term uses.
The Statistics and Computer Unit of the Directorate of Plant Protection Quarantine and Storage (PPQ&S) should be strengthened both in terms of statistical and computer personnel as well as computer equipment.
Information collected through General Crop Estimation Surveys (GCES) and the scheme for Improvement of Crop Statistics (ICS) should be compiled to generate estimates on various inputs such as fertilisers, pesticides, multiple cropping, etc.