4.17.1 Reliable forestry statistics are required for planning, policy-making, analysis and decision-making on forestry investment and development programmes. These statistics are collected mainly as a by-product of administrative reports of the State Forest Departments. On the recommendation of the National Commission on Agriculture (1976), the Forest Survey of India (FSI) was created in 1981 with the objective of monitoring the forest resources at a macro level, storing and retrieving forestry related data, designing methodology for forest surveys, etc. Besides the FSI, the Indian Council of Forestry Research and Education (ICFRE) is mandated to collect, collate and compile primary and secondary data generated by the State Forest Departments and various Central ministries. The data on the forestry are obtained through a set of periodical reports (45 in number) furnished by the State Forest Departments and other concerned agencies. In addition to details of forest area, the reports provide information on forest products (wood and non-wood), forest land under cultivation, and grazing land, etc.
4.17.2 Since 1987, the FSI has begun using Remote Sensing (RS) technology to collect data on forest cover under three broad classes (dense forest, open forest and mangroves) on a country-wide scale through a biennial survey. The latest survey (October-December, 1998) used satellite data having a resolution of 23.5 metres with digital image processing. Introduction of digital interpretation has helped in reducing the time lag in the availability of the area estimates to just a few months after the completion of the survey.
4.17.3 The Directorate of Economics and Statistics, Ministry of Agriculture (DESMOA) also publishes statistics of area under forests as part of Land Use Statistics according to the definition adopted in the nine-fold classification of land. This includes all land categorised as forests under any legal enactment dealing with the forests or administered as forests whether State or private owned, whether wooded or maintained as potential forest land.
4.18.1 The Directorate of Marketing and Inspection (DMI), Ministry of Agriculture has been conducting surveys on marketable surplus and post-harvest losses of food grains. The surveys provide information on marketable surplus ratios as well as on a variety of other important items like farm retention for family consumption, for seed, feed and wastage, etc. The present surveys collect information on these parameters using the methodology approved by a Technical Committee constituted for the purpose under the Chairmanship of the Agricultural Marketing Adviser to the Government of India. The surveys cover the following crops: Paddy, Wheat, Jowar, Bajra, Maize, Ragi, Barley, Red Gram, Gram, Green Gram, Black Gram and Lentil. The methodology used is that of multistage stratified random sampling and consists in selecting 20 per cent of the districts in a State, 15 villages in each selected district and 10 cultivator households from each selected village with a maximum of 100 districts, 1500 villages and 15,000 households.
4.18.2 The fieldwork of the surveys is conducted by Designated State Agencies through field investigators employed by them under the overall supervision of the Directorate of Marketing and Inspection. The data so collected are analysed with the support of IASRI and published. The information collected through these surveys is used in the National Accounts Statistics, and Ministry of Commerce and Industry in fixing the weights for certain agricultural commodities while compiling the all-India Index Number of Wholesale Prices in addition to its uses in planning and procurement operations and market development programmes.
Conclusions and Recommendations
4.18.3 The schedules used in the collection of information in the surveys are exhaustive, the methodology is robust, and the data collected do not appear to suffer from any serious deficiencies. However, the agencies designated for the purpose of collection of data are reported to face a number of difficulties due to inadequate manpower.
4.18.4 The Commission recommends that:
The existing methodology in conducting the surveys on marketable surplus and post-harvest losses of food grains should continue in future surveys of this type.
The agencies designated for the collection of information on marketable surplus and post-harvest losses of food grains should be provided additional manpower, wherever necessary, for the conduct of these surveys.