India's Missing Agricultural Data -Siraj Hussain
With respect to agriculture, a lot of data is either not available or is released with delay. Often, it is inconsistent with other data sets.
At the recent Vibrant Gujarat summit, Reliance Industries chairman Mukesh Ambani said, “In this new world, data is the new oil. And data is the new wealth. India’s data must be controlled and owned by Indian people and not by corporates, especially global corporations.”
The data of middle class Indians – who use smartphones, shop online and use digital money – is in high demand for Indian and global companies. But agricultural data may not be similarly sought after even if it is necessary for agricultural policy, which impacts two-thirds of the Indian population.
For good data, there are three conditions: it should be available without much delay, should be consistent over time and must be comparable with other data sources.
The directorate of economics and statistics (DES) in the department of agriculture (DAC) does a great job to generate and publish data collected from states. ‘Agriculture Statistics at a Glance’ is the most trusted source of data on agriculture. From 2016, the department has also started publishing ‘Horticulture Statistics at a Glance’.
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