4.6.1 Apart from the estimates of production compiled and published by the DESMOA, a separate series is also available for some major commercially important crops prepared by the trade organisations especially for cotton and oilseed crops. The estimates of cotton production are published by the Cotton Advisory Board (CAB) and those for the oilseeds by the Central Organisation for Oil Industry and Trade (COOIT). The DESMOA and Trade series differ widely from each other causing confusion among users and debate over the veracity of either series. The Commission examined in some detail the divergence between the two series and its findings are as follows:
4.6.2 The DESMOA compiles the production estimates on the basis of reports received from State Governments. These are obtained as the product of area sown under the crop through complete enumeration and the yield rate from crop cutting experiments. The CAB estimates are based on inputs from the Cotton Corporation of India, East India Cotton Association, Indian Cotton Mills Federation, etc. and these, in turn, depend on data on market arrivals, volume of cotton ginned and pressed in all ginning mills irrespective of the area sown or condition of the crop. The two series of estimates differ from each other within a range of 13 to 45 per cent over the years, the DESMOA estimates being consistently less than the CAB estimates (see Annexe 4.3). The main reasons for divergence are seen to be:
Shortcomings of the girdawari on which the official estimate of area is based and the inadequacy of the GCES to give due representation and weight in its sample to different factors such as irrigated and un-irrigated, hybrid and local varieties of crop. Cotton is harvested through several pickings spread over time and it is possible that the primary agency is not careful to follow the prescribed procedure of the crop cutting experiments;
The CAB estimates on the other hand, are of a subjective nature being compiled on the basis of reports from several agencies without proper attention to full coverage and standard procedures.
4.6.3 The DESMOA has been making consistent efforts to reduce the divergence between the two estimates by holding discussions with the concerned agencies. The following measures are suggested in this connection:
The sample of crop cutting experiments may be suitably increased and made representative of various types of cotton cultivation;
The primary agencies responsible for area enumeration and crop cutting experiments should be trained thoroughly;
The methodology followed by CAB should be improved by a careful review of the data from sources like market arrivals, ginning factories, Annual Survey of Industries (ASI), unorganised manufacturing units, etc. in respect of cotton and the use of appropriate models.
4.6.4 The situation in the production statistics of oilseeds is not very different from that of cotton. The magnitude of divergence between the two series in this case is of the order of 14 per cent in respect of 9 important oilseeds (see Annexe 4.4). The DESMOA estimates are based on the girdawari for area and crop cutting experiments under the GCES for yield, whereas the estimates of COOIT mainly depend on the feedback received from important markets about arrivals, trend of crop and the additional information provided by members of the industry.
4.6.5 The main reasons for divergence, in this case too, are differences in methodology, post-harvest losses, incomplete market arrivals and the inclination of the oilseeds industry to underestimate production in order to lobby for larger imports. It is understood that the DESMOA constituted two regional committees in consultation with COOIT in Andhra Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh, respectively to look into the discrepancies and reduce them to the extent possible. The DESMOA should have the work of the regional committees completed expeditiously and in the light of their findings, undertake a special study of the major oilseed markets to devise more objective procedures of estimation to be followed by the trade agencies.