The vision 2020 Document of Department of Agriculture of India envisages that “the tools of ICT will provide networking of agriculture sector not only in the country but also globally and the Centre and State Government Departments will have reservoir of databases” and also “bring farmers, researchers, scientists and administrators together by establishing agriculture online through exchange of ideas and information”.
The National Conference on Informatics for Sustainable Agricultural Development (ISDA) organised by the Ministry of Agriculture and National Informatics Centre (NIC), in May 1995, has given much-needed “roadmap” to usher in “ICT led agricultural development” in the country. The National Agricultural Policy (2000) lays emphasis on the use of ICT for achieving a more rapid development of agriculture.
Developments in e-governance provide opportunities to harness the power of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) to make the business of governance inexpensive, qualitatively responsive and truly encompassing. During the Ninth Plan, e-Governance Infrastructure like – Public Information and Facilitation Centre, Video Conferencing Facility, in-house ICT Training Centre were established and made operational in the Department of Agriculture and Cooperation (DAC) offices at Krishi Bhawan and Shastri Bhawan in New Delhi. The website www.agricoop.nic.in has become the ICT4D gateway.
In the overall strategy of ushering in e-Governance paradigm, the Department of Agriculture and Cooperation has initiated the project “DACNET” (http://dacnet. nic.in) as a Central Sector Scheme, to provide IT apparatus in its Directorates, Regional Directorates and Field Units located through out the country with the following components:
• ICT infrastructure and networking of Directorates, Regional Directorates and their Field Units for Internet and Intranet access with the central project unit
• IT empowerment of employees through specialised training programmes
• Development of applications
• Development of software for strengthening e-Governance solutions
A state-of-the-art Data Centre has been established to provide G2G, G2E and G2C services. Active directory, database, website, Intranet portal are some of the services offered to DACNET Users. The Directorates are equipped with Database Server, Internet Security Accelerator (ISA), Vision-2000 and Office-XP on Windows-2000 Platform. The Field Units are equipped with the latest MS Windows-XP and the Office-XP with local language Support.
Application Software are categorised as generic to all the Directorates as well as specific to individual Directorate and its field offices. The requirement analysis for information system modeling was undertaken using analytic (bottom-up) and synthetic (topdown) approaches. Application software have been developed using evolutionary prototyping and iterative development methods. This was done inspite of the fact that software development process in Government sector, face high risk in user interface design because of change in leadership, change in priority, improper requirements specification and inadequate business logic. Application software developed and implemented under DACNET, among others, include:
• Plant “Quarantina”
• Crop Weather Watch
• Market Prices Analysis
• Bio-fertilizers Informatics on-line
• Integrated Pest Management Information System “IPMIS”
• Central Registration Online Processing System ”CROPS”
• Knowledge Management System “e-Granthalaya”
• Office Automation Packages identified under minimum agenda of e- governance
• Farm Machinery Informatics on-line
One of the project components under DACNET was IT empowerment of employees through specialised training programs. The total number of participants covered under these training programmes is about 6000 from various Directorates and Field units spread all over India. The training programme was conducted on four different modules viz.
• Office productivity tools (2697 employees trained)
• Database design and analysis (2137 trained)
• Decision support systems (675 trained)
• Geographic Information System (425 Trained)
Our economic and industrial growth is independent on productivity in agriculture. Convegence of core technologies and e-Governance has become the tool for sustainable development and globalisation of economy. Agriculture in India needs a “productivity and quality revolution”, which can be brought out through the much-needed reforms in information access, extension services, credit, marketing, pricing, rural infrastructure andmost importantly land reforms. All of these can be attained through effective use and application of modern ICTs.
What DACNET is doing?
• Providing e-governance solutions for strategic applications like plant protection & quarantine, weather watch, marketing & inspection, nutrient management etc.
• Providing useful databases and information packages for marketing opportunities and agri-business.
• Information exchange among all stakeholders (Directorates, Regional Directorates, Field Units).
• Availability of extension and advisory services on demand facilitating “agri-clinics”.
Spectrum of users
• Agricultural Marketing Information System Network (AGMARKNET)
• National Institute of Agricultural Extension Management (MANAGE)
• National Institute of Agricultural Marketing (NIAM)
• National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation (NAFED)
• Agricultural & Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA)
• Marine Products Export Development Authority (MPEDA)
• Tribal Co-operative marketing development federation of India Ltd.
• National Consumers Cooperatives Federation (NCCF)
• National Tree Growers Federation (NTGF)
• Cotton Corporation of India (CCI)
• Jute Corporation of India (JCI)
• Export Promotion Councils (EPCs)
• National Horticulture Board (NHB)
• Commodity Boards
• Indian Farmers Fertiliser Cooperative Limited (IFFCO)
• FICCI, ASSOCham, CII
• National Cooperative Development Corporation (NCDC)
• Food Corporation of India (FCI)
• Central Warehousing Corporation (CWC)
• National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD)
• Planning Commission & State Planning Boards
• Indian Council of Agriculture Research (ICAR) & it’s 89 Institutes/Directorates
• State Agricultural Universities (SAU) & their Zonal Research Stations
• State Agriculture Departments
• District Agriculture Departments
• Agricultural Economics Research Centres
• Traders, Processors, Sellers, Agents etc
• Extension Education Institutes
• Farming Community and other Stake holders