‘Soil Health Card’ Scheme has been introduced to assist State Governments to issue soil health cards to all farmers in the country. It is a Government of India’s scheme promoted by the Department of Agriculture & Co-operation under the Ministry of Agriculture. It will be implemented through the Department of Agriculture of all the State and Union Territory Governments. A SHC is meant to give each farmer soil nutrient status of his holding and advice him on the dosage of fertilizers and also the needed soil amendments, that he should apply to maintain soil health in the long run. It is likely to develop an application software for the States for online generation of soil health cards and fertilizer recommendations. Dissemination of soil testing results through SMSs will be enabled.
Agriculture since ages is the mainstay of the Indian population. The story of Indian agriculture has been a spectacular one, with a global impact for its multi-functional success in generating employment, livelihood, food, nutritional and ecological security. Agriculture and allied activities contribute about 30 per cent to the gross domestic product of India. The green revolution had heralded the first round of changes. India is the second largest producer of wheat, rice, sugar, groundnut as also in production of cash crops like coffee, coconut and tea.
Aim and Objectives:
- To issue soil health cards every 3 years, to all farmers of the country, so as to provide a basis to address nutrient deficiencies in fertilization practices.
- To strengthen functioning of Soil Testing Laboratories (STLs) through capacity building, involvement of agriculture students and effective linkage with Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) / State Agricultural Universities (SAUs).
- To diagnose soil fertility related constraints with standardized procedures for sampling uniformly across states and analysis and design taluqa / block level fertilizer recommendations in various district.
- To develop and promote soil test based nutrient management in the districts for enhancing nutrient use efficiency.
- To build capacities of district and state level staff and of progressive farmers for promotion of nutrient management practices.
National Informatics Center (NIC) has developed a web portal (www.soilhealth.dac.gov.in) for generation of uniform soil health card and fertilizer recommendation, which has four modules:
- Registration of Soil Samples.
- Testing of Samples in Soil Testing laboratory.
- Fertilizer recommendation based on Soil Test Crop Response (STCR) equations.
- MIS Reports.
The official sources in the Agriculture ministry say that the Soil Health Card portal aims to generate and issue Soil Health Cards based on either Soil Test-Crop Response (STCR) formulae developed by ICAR or General Fertilizer Recommendations provided by state Governments.
The scheme has been approved for implementation during 12th Plan with an outlay of Rs.568.54 crore. For the current year (2015-16) an allocation of Rs.96.46 crore (GOI share) has been made. The scheme will be implemented on 50:50 sharing pattern between GOI and State Governments.
In order to mobilize manpower and soil test infrastructure, the DAC is pooling the resources of ICAR and also that of State Governments. Thus all ICAR institutions including KVKs, State Government laboratories and State Agriculture Universities will be participating in this important national programme. It is also proposed to facilitate participation by the students of science colleges and chemistry departments of the general universities under the banner of ‘earn while you learn’.
As of July 2015, only 34 lakh Soil Health Cards (SHC) were issued to farmers as against a target of 84 lakh for the year 2015 16. Arunachal Pradesh, Goa, Gujarat, Haryana, Kerala, Mizoram, Sikkim, Tamil Nadu, Uttarakhand and West Bengal were among the states which had not issued a single SHC under the scheme by then. The number grew up to 1.12 crore by February 2016. As of February 2016, against the target of 104 lakh soil samples, States reported a collection of 81 lakh soil samples and tested 52 lakh samples.
|Sl. No.||State||Target No of Samples 2015-16||No. of Samples Collected||No. of Samples Tested||No. of SHCs Issued|
|17||J & K||55106||37787||20781||30905|