Directorate of Economics & Statistics
The Directorate of Economics and Statistics (DES), an attached office of the Department of Agriculture and Cooperation (DAC), Ministry of Agriculture, Government of India, is entrusted with the economic and statistical work concerning different facets of agriculture. Work in this area may be broadly divided into the following categories:-
(a) Agricultural economic policy and development
(b) Food economics and statistics
(c) Trade in agriculture
(d) Agro-economic research
(e) Area , production and yield estimates
(f) Statistics of investment, growth, wages, employment,Costs, Prices, trade and related variables in agriculture.
(g) Collection, collation, dissemination and publication of Agricultural Statistics
(h) National crop forecasting (Crop& Weather Watch Group Meetings and operationalisation of New Schemes on FASAL And Extended Range Weather Forecast)
(i) Economic and Statistical work involved in important ad hoc assignments like Revision of base of WPI for Agricultural Commodities, Conduct of National/International Conferences, etc.
Price policy for agricultural commodities constitutes an important element of overall agricultural economic policy. Minimum Support Prices (MSPs) for important cereals, pulses, oilseeds, and other commercial crops, namely, cotton, jute and sugarcane, are fixed by the Government every year on the basis of the recommendations made by the Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices (CACP). The list of 25 crops for which MSPs are recommended by CACP and announced by the Government is at Statement I annexed to this Note.
The most important factor considered by the CACP in making its recommendations on MSPs for different crops is the cost of cultivation/production for which the database is provided by the DES through its plan scheme for study on cost of cultivation. Analysis of various price policy issues in the emerging socio-economic environment requires advance information on the production of different crops, supply-demand scenario, as well as regular monitoring of price movements in both the domestic and international markets.
The effectiveness of price policy in boosting production and productivity of agriculture in tune with domestic as well as external demand cannot be assessed in the absence of regular data on area, production and yield of different crops. Similarly, data on domestic and international prices for various agricultural commodities, trends in procurement, offtake and stocks of foodgrains, consumption of different agricultural commodities, their exports and imports, etc. assume immense significance in the emerging external economic environment, which is increasingly influenced by the World Trade Organisation.The importance of a sound data/ information base on different facets of agriculture cannot therefore be overemphasized. The Plan Schemes of DES seek to serve this purpose.
In keeping with the need to adopt a holistic approach to the implementation of individual schemes with inter-related objectives, it has been proposed/decided to merge the on-going plan schemes into three broad umbrella schemes. The details of these schemes, with special reference to the component schemes, are given below.
1. Studies on Inputs for Agricultural Economic Policy and Development
1.1 Comprehensive Scheme for Studying the Cost of Cultivation of Principal Crops in India
The Comprehensive Scheme for Studying the Cost of Cultivation of Principal Crops in India is being implemented since 1970-71 as a Central Sector Plan Scheme on the basis of recommendations made by the Standing Technical Committee on Indices of Input Costs constituted under the Chairmanship of Dr. Ashok Mitra in 1967.
The main objectives of the scheme are as follows:
(i) collection and compilation of field data on cost of cultivation and cost of production in respect of 28 crops;
(ii) generation of estimates of cost of cultivation and cost of production of various crops in different States covered under the scheme ;and
(iii) construction of the indices of terms of trade between agriculture and non-agriculture sectors.
The estimates of cost of cultivation of principal crops are used by the Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices (CACP) for recommending Minimum Support Prices (MSPs) of 25 crops, including sugarcane for which the support price is termed “Statutory Minimum Price (SMP).” The Directorate of Economics & Statistics (DES) in the Ministry of Agriculture gets this study conducted through 16 Agricultural/General Universities/College besides the Directorate of Tobacco Development. Under the scheme, the field data pertaining to the cost of cultivation/ cost of production are collected, compiled and analysed.The estimates of cost of cultivation/production furnished to the CACP forms an important basis for recommending the MSPs of various agricultural commodities to the Government of India.
The cost estimates generated under the scheme are also used by State Governments, Agricultural/General Universities, Government / Non-Government Research Organizations and individual researchers. The data are also used for working out the Index Numbers of Terms of Trade between agricultural and non-agricultural sectors. Besides, the database on a number of items under the scheme is used by the Central Statistical Organisation in connection with the compilation of national income estimates.
The scheme is implemented in 19 states, namely, Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Chattisgarh, Gujarat, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Orissa, Punjab, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh, Uttaranchal and West Bengal. The studies in the States, except newly created States of Chattisgarh, Jharkhand, Uttaranchal are undertaken by the Agricultural Universities/colleges located in their respective States. As far as the three newly created States are concerned, their parent institutions undertake these studies.
At present, the scheme covers 28 crops i.e. paddy, wheat, jowar, bajra, maize, ragi, barley, moong, urad, arhar, gram, masur, peas, groundnut, rapeseed and mustard, nigerseed, soyabean, sunflower, safflower, sesamum, cotton, jute, sugarcane, VFC tobacco, onion, potato, coconut and black pepper.
The field data under the scheme are collected on the Cost Accounting Method under which daily entries of debit/credit for the expenditure/income are made in order to assess the total cost incurred/benefit accrued by/ to each farmer covered under the scheme. The field data are collected by the field-men. The detailed questionnaire is filled up/updated on monthly/annual basis after making enquiries on daily basis from 10 farm holdings which consists of 2 each from 5 different size classes viz. up to 1 hectare, 1-2 hectares, 2-4 hectares, 4-6 hectares and above 6 hectares allotted to each field-man.
The Agro-Economic Research Scheme is an old Scheme started in 1954-55 for undertaking research studies on agro economic problems of the country. The Scheme is being implemented through 12 Agro-Economic Research Centres and 3 Units which are fully funded by the Government through Central Sector plan Scheme. These Centres have been established to take up problem oriented studies on regional basis with a view to generate the requisite feedback from the grass-root level, to facilitate effective monitoring of various programmes/schemes implemented in the entire country. While the Units mainly undertake inter-regional and all India level studies, the Centres conduct studies at the state level. On an average 40-45 research studies are completed annually by these Centres , which relate to various economic problems in agriculture, animal husbandry, water management and allied areas.
1.3 Planning and Management of Agriculture:
In order to facilitate a systematic assessment of the impact of these changes on the farm economy with focus on the state of Indian farmers, a Central Sector Scheme-Planning and Management of Agriculture- was formulated in 1998-99. This envisages conferences and workshops/ seminars involving eminent economists/agricultural scientists/experts , and short term studies, consultancy services for preparation of new decentralized strategy for development of crops, animals, dairy, poultry, irrigation, soil and water conservation etc. preparation of papers/reports based on the recommendations of the workshops/seminars etc .
The scheme also includes the provision for Millennium Study on the state of Indian Farmers, which provide inputs for policy formulation from a long-term perspective. With a view to assessing the impact of past policies and programmes on the economic well-being of the farmers, which has generally escaped attention of researchers, a mega study entitled “State of the Indian Farmer – A Millennium Study” was taken up by the Department of Agriculture and Cooperation during the Ninth plan. Phase – I of this study pertained to a retrospective analysis of the agricultural development experience in the post-independence era. Work on Phase- I was completed and reports were published in 27 volumes.
The Situation Assessment Survey (SAS) of Farmers, which constitutes Phase – II of the Millennium Study, has been entrusted to the NSSO in the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation. The major areas covered under SAS include consumer expenditure, income and assets, indebtedness, farming practices and preferences, their awareness of technological developments, educational level and access to modern technology. Out of the five Reports on the findings of the Survey, three, viz.Indebtedness of Farmer Households, Some Aspects of Farming and Access to Modern Technology of Farming have been released. The remaining two,viz. Household Consumption Expenditure for Farmers and Income, Expenditure & Productive Assets of Farmer Households are expected in the near future.
1.4 Strengthening of Agricultural Statistics & Agricultural Policy Formulation
This is a Central Sector Plan-Scheme. The objective of this scheme is to strengthen the system of agricultural statistics and policy formulation by strengthening the research techniques and upgrading of skills of personnel involved in the compilation and analysis of data. Towards this end, a National Workshop is held every year in which a large number of representatives from Ministry of Agriculture, Central Statistical Origanisation, National Sample Survey organization, Department of Space, Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices, State governments, research Institutions like Indian Agricultural Statistics Research Institute (IASRI) and State Agricultural Universities participate.
An international conference, namely, the 20th session of Asia and Pacific Commission on Agricultural Statistics (APCAS) was organized in the month of September 2004 with the objective of improving Agricultural Statistics in member nations. APCAS advises member nations on the development and standardization of agricultural statistics within the general framework of FAO’s work in the field of food and agricultural statistics. APCAS, which holds its Session every two years, reviews current development in the compilation, analysis and dissemination of data on different facets of food and agriculture. The discussions in the 20th Session focussed on agriculture in its broad sense covering crop production, livestock, forestry and fishing in the member countries. The subjects on the agenda included application of remote sensing in the forecast of crop area and production, forestry and fisheries, use of trade flow data in agriculture policy formulation, development of country STAT as a vehicle for organising national agriculture sector data, strengthening regional data exchange system in food and agriculture statistics in Asia and Pacific countries, analysis of agricultural census and surveys, including livestock census data and plan for forthcoming world census of agriculture in 2010
2. Improvement of Agricultural Statistics
Agriculture Statistics Improvement (ASI) Division in the DES deals with implementation of Plan scheme viz. “Improvement of Agricultural Statistics”. The basic objective of the Scheme is to collect and improve agricultural statistics of Principal Agricultural Crops and selected Horticultural Crops. The Scheme has four components namely (i) Timely Reporting Scheme, (ii) Improvement of Crop Statistics, (iii) Establishment of an Agency for Reporting of Agricultural Statistics (EARAS) and (iv) Crop Estimation Survey on Fruits & Vegetables. The component-wise details of the Scheme are given as under.
2.1 Timely Reporting of Estimates of Area and Production of Principal Crops (TRS)
The objective of this component is to obtain estimates of area of principal crops, in each season, with break up of area under irrigated/unirrigated and traditional /high yielding varieties of crops on the basis of priority enumeration conducted on the basis of random sample of 20% of villages by a specific date. The States are required to furnish these estimates by 30th November for Kharif Crops and by 30th April for Rabi crops. These estimates are used for generating advance estimates of production of principal crops. This component is being implemented in 16 land record States and also Union Territories of Delhi and Pondicherry. This component has funding pattern on 50:50 basis between the Central Government and State Governments.
2.2 Improvement of Crop Statistics(ICS)
The objective of this component is to improve the quality of statistics of area and production of crops through supervision and monitoring. Under this component, a sample check of area enumeration and crop cutting experiments of 10,000 villages and approximately 31,000 experiments at harvest stage are undertaken. These samples are equally shared by the Central Agency, i.e. National Sample Survey Organization and the State Agricultural Authorities. These checks specifically relate to (i) Enumeration of crop-wise area covered in the selected villages as recorded by the Patwari. (ii) Total of the area under each crop recorded in Khasra Register of villages and (iii) Supervision of crop cutting experiments at the harvest stage. This component is being implemented in all TRS States and the Union Territory of Pondicherry. The performance of the implementation of this component also is being closely monitored through Quarterly and Seasonal progress Reports.
2.3 Establishment of an Agency for Reporting of Agricultural Statistics (EARAS)
This component is being implemented in the permanently settled States of West Bengal, Kerala, Orissa and North Eastern States of Nagaland, Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh and Tripura. Under this component, an agency has been established in these States for generating estimates of area and production of principal crops and land use statistics, on the basis of complete enumeration of 20% villages in each year. The performance of the implementation of the component is being closely monitored through Quarterly and Seasonal Progress Reports.
2.4 Crop Estimation Survey of Fruits, Vegetables and Minor Crops (CES-F&V)
This component is implemented to generate estimates of area and production of fruits and vegetables in the country. The component is being implemented in 11 States and a total of 14 crops are covered (7 fruit and 7 vegetables). The methodology developed by the Indian Agricultural Statistics Research Institute (IASRI) is being used for generation of these estimates.
The different fruit and vegetable crops covered are: apple, mango, citrus, pineapple, grape, banana, guava, potato, onion, cabbage, cauliflower, tomato, ginger and turmeric. The States of Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Orissa, Punjab, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu and Uttar Pradesh are covered under the component.
The National Statistical Commission (NSC) has recommended that the present methodology being followed for CES-F&V should be replaced by an alternative cost effective methodology. Accordingly, the IASRI has submitted a proposal for conducting study in two States for testing the alternative methodology suggested by them on the lines recommended by the NSC. Work on this is in progress.
3. FORECASTING AND REMOTE SENSING APPLICATION IN CROP HUSBANDRY
.1 REMOTE SENSING APPLICATIONS IN CROP ASSESSMENT AND FORECASTING:
The Central Sector Umbrella Scheme viz. ‘Forecasting and Remote Sensing Applications in Crop Husbandry’ during the Tenth Five Year Plan includes following three components.
· National Crop Forecasting Centre (NCFC)
· Crop Acreage and Production Estimates (CAPE)
· Special Data Dissemination Standards (SDDS)
The umbrella scheme of Forecasting and Remote Sensing Application in Crop Husbandry comprising three ongoing components of NCFC, CAPE and SDDS was implemented w.e.f 1.8.2004. Before 1.8.2004, these three components were being operated as individual schemes.
National Crop Forecasting Centre (NCFC)
NCFC was created at the end of the year 1998 and was set up mainly with the following functions:-
i) Periodic crop forecasting for major crops, and
ii) Coordination and assimilation of various methodologies and technical advancement relating to crop forecasting.
However, over the time, its sphere of activities has been expended to:
a) Providing effective unified institutional framework for the entire crop forecasting system in the country involving data flow, assimilation, analysis and dissemination of statistics.
b) Periodic crop forecasting for major crops through assimilation of information generated by the different organizations such as IMD, Medium Range Weather Forecasting of Department of Science & Technology, Department of Space (DOS), Central Statistical Organization (CSO), Indian Agricultural Statistics Research Institute (IASRI), Field Operations Division of the National Sample Survey Organization (NSSO) and the State Agriculture Statistics Authorities (SASAs), State Agriculture Departments etc.
c) Coordination and assimilation of various methodologies and technical advancement relating to crop forecasting.
d) Central level monitoring of the situation about crop, weather, supply of inputs, pests/diseases and related aspects through the mechanism of Crop & Weather Watch Group in the Department of Agriculture & Cooperation.
e) Providing a forum for the Standing Technical Committee on Agricultural Statistics to review and monitor the development of the methodologies for crop forecasting in particular and Agricultural Statistics in general, which has already been constituted as a follow up of the recommendation No. 8 of the Expert Group.
f) Coordinating the proposed projects/scheme on “Development and Application of Extended Range Forecast System for Climate Risk management in Agriculture (ERFS)” and “Forecasting of Agriculture output using Space, Agro-meteorology and Land based observations (FASAL)”.
g) During the Ninth Plan, the professional posts envisaged for NCFC could not be created and NCFC operated by ad-hoc deployment of professionals with a truncated mandate.
This activity was initiated during the 7th Five year Plan as one of the components of the Scheme named ‘Remote Sensing Application Mission for Agricultural Application’ (RSAMAA). The Scheme was initially monitored by the Crops Division , but later on, it was transferred to Directorate of Economics and Statistics. From 2004-05, this has been merged with the umbrella scheme Forecasting and Remote Sensing Application in Crop Husbandry. This activity is being fully funded by the Ministry of Agriculture and executed under the overall technical guidance of the Department of Space, Ministry of Science and Technology, Government of India, with the help of State Remote Sensing Application Centres (SRSACs), State Department of Agriculture (SDA), Directorate/Bureau of Economics & Statistics (DESs) and State Agriculture Universities (SAUs). It aims at the estimating crop acreage and yield, with the application of RS Technology, at least a month before the actual harvesting of crops. In this process, it enables development and upgradation of methodologies in consonance with state of art RS technology and sensor capabilities for crop inventory assessment at different geographical units.
Under the CAPE activity, area and production estimates based on remote sensing technology have been prepared for specified crops for the selected States/Districts during the year 2004-05. Grants-in-aid are provided to Space Application Centre, Ahmedabad for operationalising the activities under CAPE.
Special Data Dissemination Standards (SDDS)
Under this activity, quarterly estimates of agricultural production are generated for use in the compilation of Quarterly National Accounts by the Central Statistical Organization. This activity has been undertaken in order to meet the obligations concerning supply of data to the International Monetary Fund. The estimates of quarterly crop production generated are being furnished to the Central Statistical Organization. In the absence of direct data, quarterly production is estimated by using the estimates of Kharif and Rabi seasons in conjunction with crop calendar.
In order to improve upon the quality of quarterly estimates by way of refining the estimation procedure and cross validation of results, available data from other sources such as Timely Reporting Scheme, market Intelligence Unit of DES, National Sample Survey Organization etc .are used. This is a staff oriented activity under the umbrella scheme.
The DES also collects and compiles wholesale and retail prices, international prices and market arrivals of essential commodities on weekly/monthly basis for 700 centres (for wholesale prices) and 83 centres (for retail prices) spread all over the country. Out of these price quotations, about 216 quotations on wholesale prices are being disseminated through E-mail to the Office of Economic Adviser, Ministry of Industry, for construction of Wholesale Price Index Numbers on weekly basis. The price quotations collected are also disseminated in the form of weekly bulletins and circulated through E-mail to concerned offices. Besides, daily wholesale prices of some important agricultural products, in respect of Hapur and Delhi are also being supplied to All India Radio for Broadcasting.