As the data from a 20 per cent sample is large enough to estimate crop area with a sufficient degree of precision at the all-India, State and district levels, crop area forecasts and final area estimates issued by the Ministry of Agriculture should be based on the results of the 20 per cent Timely Reporting Scheme (TRS) villages in the temporarily settled States and Establishment of an Agency for Reporting Agricultural Statistics (EARAS) scheme villages in the permanently settled states. In the case of the North-Eastern States, Remote Sensing methodology should be used for this purpose after testing its viability.
The patwari and the supervisors above him should be mandated to accord the highest priority to the work of the girdawari and the patwari be spared, if necessary, from other duties during the period of girdawari.
The patwari and the primary staff employed in Establishment of an Agency for Reporting Agricultural Statistics (EARAS) should be imparted systematic and periodic training and the fieldwork should be subjected to intensive supervision by the higher-level revenue officials as well as by the technical staff.
For proper and timely conduct of the girdawari, the concerned supervisory staff should be made accountable.
Timely Reporting Scheme (TRS) and Establishment of an Agency for Reporting Agricultural Statistics (EARAS) scheme should be regarded as programmes of national importance and the Government of India at the highest level should prevail upon the State Governments to give due priority to them, deploy adequate resources for the purpose and ensure proper conduct of field operations in time.
Crop Production (Para 4.3.12)
In view of the importance of reliable estimates of crop production, the States should take all necessary measures to ensure that the crop cutting surveys under the General Crop Estimation Survey (GCES) are carried out strictly according to the prescribed programme.
Efforts should be made to reduce the diversity of agencies involved in the fieldwork of crop cutting experiments and use as far as possible agricultural and statistical personnel for better control of field operations.
A statistical study should be carried out to explore the feasibility of using the Improvement of Crop Statistics (ICS) data for working out a correction or adjustment factor to be applied to official statistics of crop area to generate alternative estimates of the same. Given the past experience of the Land Utilisation Surveys of the NSS and the controversies they created, the Commission is of the view that the objective of redesigning of the ICS, at present, should be restricted to working out a correction factor.
The two series of experiments conducted under the National Agricultural Insurance Scheme (NAIS) and the General Crop Estimation Survey (GCES) should not be combined for deriving estimates of production as the objectives of the two series are different and their merger will affect the quality of general crop estimates.
Crop estimates below the level of district are required to meet several needs including those of the National Agricultural Insurance Scheme (NAIS). Special studies should be taken up by the National Statistical Office to develop appropriate "small area estimation" techniques for this purpose.
Crop Forecasts (Para 4.4.8)
The Ministry of Agriculture and the National Crop Forecasting Centre (NCFC) should soon put in place an objective method of forecasting the production of crops.
The National Crop Forecasting Centre (NCFC) should be adequately strengthened with professional statisticians and experts in other related fields.
The programme of Forecasting Agricultural output using Space, Agro-meteorology and Land based observations (FASAL), which is experimenting the approach of Remote Sensing to estimate the area under principal crops should be actively pursued.
The States should be assisted by the Centre in adopting the objective techniques to be developed by the National Crop Forecasting Centre (NCFC).
Production of Horticultural Crops (Para 4.5.7)
The methodology adopted in the pilot scheme of "Crop Estimation Survey on Fruits and Vegetables" should be reviewed and an alternative methodology for estimating the production of horticultural crops should be developed taking into account information flowing from all sources including market arrivals, exports and growers associations. Special studies required to establish the feasibility of such a methodology should be taken up by a team comprising representatives from Indian Agricultural Statistics Research Institute (IASRI), Directorate of Economics and Statistics, Ministry of Agriculture (DESMOA), Field Operations Division of National Sample Survey Organisation (NSSO (FOD)) and from one or two major States growing horticultural crops. The alternative methodology should be tried out on a pilot basis before actually implementing it on a large scale.
A suitable methodology for estimating the production of crops such as mushroom, herbs and floriculture needs to be developed and this should be entrusted to the expert team comprising representatives from Indian Agricultural Statistics Research Institute (IASRI), Directorate of Economics and Statistics, Ministry of Agriculture (DESMOA), Field Operations Division of National Sample Survey Organisation (NSSO (FOD)) and from one or two major States growing these crops.
Land Use (Para 4.7.7)
The nine-fold classification of land use should be slightly enlarged to cover two or three more categories such as social forestry, marshy and water logged land, and land under still waters, which are of common interest to the centre and States, and which can easily be identified by the patwari through visual observation.
State Governments should ensure that computerisation of land records is completed expeditiously.
Irrigation Statistics (Para 4.8.15)
In view of wide variation between the irrigated area generated by the Ministry of Agriculture and the Ministry of Water Resources, the State Governments should make an attempt to explain and reduce the divergence, to the extent possible, through mutual consultation between the two agencies engaged in the data collection at the local level.
The State Directorates of Economics and Statistics (DESs) should be made the nodal agencies in respect of irrigation statistics and they should establish direct links with the State and Central agencies concerned to secure speedy data flow.
Statistical monitoring and evaluation cells with trained statistical personnel should be created in the field offices of the Central Water Commission (CWC) in order to generate a variety of statistics relating to water use.
The Central Statistical Organisation (CSO) should designate a senior level officer to interact with the Central and State irrigation authorities in order to promote an efficient system of water resources statistics and oversee its activities.
Land Holdings and Agricultural Census (Para 4.9.13)
The Agricultural Census should henceforth be on a sample basis and the same should be conducted in a 20 per cent sample of villages.
There should be an element of household enquiry (besides re-tabulation) in the Agricultural Census in the temporarily settled States.
Computerisation of land records should be expedited to facilitate the Agricultural Census operations.
There should be adequate provision for effective administrative supervision over the fieldwork of Agricultural Census and also a technical check on the quality of data with the help of the State statistical agency.
The post of the Agricultural Census Commissioner of India at the Centre should be restored and should be of the level of Additional Secretary to be able to interact effectively with the State Governments. Further, this post should be earmarked for a senior statistician.
The Census Monitoring Board should be revived to oversee the Agricultural Census operations.
Agricultural Prices (Para 4.10.10)
The Ministry of Agriculture should prepare a well-documented manual of instructions on collection of wholesale prices of agricultural commodities.
The agricultural price collectors should be given thorough training in the concepts, definitions and the methods of data collection, and the training courses should be repeated periodically.
Workshops and training courses should be made an integral part of quality improvement. The quality of data should be determined on the basis of systematic analysis of the price data of agricultural commodities both by the Centre and the States.
Latest tools of communication technology like e-mail should be availed of to ensure timely data flow of agricultural prices.
A system should be developed to secure a simultaneous data flow of agricultural prices from lower levels to the State as well as the Centre.
The State agencies at the district level and below should follow up cases of chronic non-response relating to collection of data on agricultural prices.
The number of essential commodities for which agricultural prices are collected should be reduced to an absolute minimum, especially the non-food crops, in consultation with Ministry of Consumer Affairs and Cabinet Committee on Prices.
The centres of agricultural price collection should, as far as possible, be the same for the essential commodities as those for wholesale prices.
Agricultural Market Intelligence (Para 4.11.4)
The functions, activities and the staff requirements of the Agricultural Market Intelligence Units should be re-evaluated and appropriate measures taken to streamline the units.
Cost of Cultivation of Principal Crops (Para 4.12.6)
In view of the importance of the Cost of Cultivation Studies in the price administration of agricultural commodities and several studies relating to farm economy, the present programme should continue.
Focused attention should be paid to the proper organisation and management of the Cost of Cultivation Studies.
A review of the number of centres, methodology, sample size, the existing schedule and questionnaire, etc. of the Cost of Cultivation Studies should be undertaken.
The Directorate of Economics and Statistics, Ministry of Agriculture (DESMOA) should minimise the delay in bringing out the results of the Cost of Cultivation Studies.
Livestock Numbers (Para 4.13.7)
The quinquennial Livestock Census should henceforth be taken in a 20 per cent sample of villages instead of a cent per cent coverage.
The Livestock Census should include some minimum information about the household (size, occupation, etc.) in addition to the head count for more meaningful analysis of the census data.
There should be a concerted effort towards better organisation and management of the Livestock Census operation through comprehensive training of the field staff and regular supervision over their work by both administrative and technical personnel.
Information Technology tools should be used at various stages of the Livestock Census for rapid processing and preparation of the final reports as well as improving the quality of the data.
Integration of Livestock and Agricultural Censuses (Para 4.14.3)
The Livestock and Agricultural Censuses should be integrated and taken together in a 20 per cent sample of villages.
Before effecting the integration of Livestock and Agricultural Censuses a limited pilot investigation be undertaken to firm up the procedures of integration.
The periodical National Sample Survey Organisation’s survey on land and livestock holdings be synchronised with Agricultural and Livestock Censuses in order to supplement as well as help in the crosscheck of information from the two sources.
Livestock Products (Para 4.15.6)
The Integrated Sample Surveys should be continued and efforts should be made to fill up the existing data gaps.
The Indian Agricultural Statistics Research Institute (IASRI) should be entrusted with the task of developing appropriate methodologies for filling up the remaining data gaps relating to estimates of mutton, pork, poultry meat, and meat by-products.
Fisheries Statistics (Para 4.16.10)
The survey design for estimating production of marine fisheries should be modified taking into account the current distribution of landing sites and the volume of catch at different sites. The field staff engaged in collection of data should be imparted regular training and their work should be adequately supervised.
The survey methodology for estimating production of inland fisheries especially with regard to running water sources (rivers and canals) should receive urgent attention and the Indian Agricultural Statistics Research Institute (IASRI) along with the Central Inland Fisheries Research Institute (CIFRI) should be provided with adequate support to develop this programme on a priority basis.
The States should improve the recording of area under still water by appropriate modification of land use statistics.
The discrepancies between the two sources of data namely, Livestock Census and State reports with regard to data on fishermen, fishing craft and gear should be reconciled by adoption of uniform concepts and definitions and review of these statistics at the district and State levels.
Forestry Statistics (Para 4.17.10)
Remote Sensing techniques should be extensively used to improve and develop forestry statistics.
The State Forest Departments should be adequately supported by the establishment of appropriate statistical units to oversee the collection and compilation of forestry statistics from diverse sources on forest products including timber and non-timber forest products.
Arrangements should be made for storage and speedy transmission of forestry data through Information Technology devices.
In view of the unavoidable nature of the divergence between statistics from the two sources – land records and State Forest Departments – because of different coverage and concepts, the two series should continue to exist; but the reasons for divergence should be clearly indicated to help data users in interpreting the forestry statistics.
A Statistics Division in the Ministry of Environment and Forests with adequate statistical manpower should be created for rationalisation and development of proper database on forestry statistics.
Marketable Surplus and Post-Harvest Losses (Para 4.18.4)
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.
Market Research Surveys (Para 4.19.4)
The Directorate of Marketing and Inspection (DMI) should establish a Statistical Cell either independently or within Market Research and Planning Cell (MRPC) with sufficiently trained statistical personnel to undertake comprehensive analysis of survey data and aid the decision-making process.
The Statistical Cell of Directorate of Marketing and Inspection (DMI) should identify the problems and deficiencies in the market research surveys carried out by different institutions and develop a standard methodology for uniform adoption.
Index Numbers in Agriculture (Para 4.20.8)
A review of the item basket for the construction of Index Numbers of Area, Production and Yield should be undertaken immediately.
The item basket for the construction of Index Numbers of Area, Production and Yield should be different for different States.
The present arrangements for the construction and release of Index of Terms of Trade should continue.
Recording of Area under Mixed Crops (Para 4.21.5)
The rates used to apportion the areas of constituent crops of major crop mixtures should be fixed for the recognised mixtures at sub-district and district levels and updated periodically.
Data available from surveys conducted under schemes like Improvement of Crop Statistics (ICS) over the years should be used for deciding the crop mixtures and their ratios.
Input Statistics (Para 4.22.8)
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 Survey (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.