ri   lt re and ood          ana ement          8.39
     needs to strengthen other support systems also                        the incomes of farmers, especially small
     related to enhancing the farm income together                         and marginal farmers.
     with expanding the agriculture insurance in a                  (iii) Need of an approach which is ‘neutral to
     speedy manner.                                                        input, crop and region’.
                                                                    (iv) Minimizing wastage in inputs as well as
        AGrIculture extensIon servIces                                     produce, till it leaves the farm gate.
     Another key input to farm sector is ‘agriculture                (v) Efforts to enhance post harvest processing/
                                                                           value added activities at the farm.
     extension services (AES)’. These services can
     improve productivity by providing timely                       (vi) Need to share with the farmer, information
     advisory services to farmers to adopt best                            on weather, in order to improve yield,
     practices, technology, meet with contingencies,                       and minimize damage to crops.
     market information etc. The AES (also called                   (vi) Promoting inter and rotational cropping
     ‘rural advisory services’) has been defined47 as                      and efficient utilization of the inputs.
     “consisting of all the different activities that              (vii) Need to shift to demand-driven
     provide the information and services needed and                       agricultural advisory services.
     demanded by farmers and other actors in rural                (viii) Need of a virtual connect, using IT
     settings to assist them in developing their own                       (mobile and internet) and integration of
     technical, organisational and management skills                       agricultural extension services.
     and practices so as to improve their livelihoods                 Over the time, the GoI has taken variety of
     and well-being”.                                           initiatives50 to strengthen the AES in the country,
          Though there are multiple agencies in India           major ones being – Kisan TV set up; broadcasting
     offering agricultural advisory services the system is      of agri-information by AIR; Agri-Clinic & Agri-
     not efficient enough due to the following reasons:48       Business (by agriculture graduates); Extension
                                                                education institutes set up; model training courses
           (i) Lack of functional autonomy,                     for horticulture, animal husbandry, etc started;
         (ii) Rigid hierarchical structures leading to          National Centre for Management of Agricultural
                 lack of innovative methods of providing        Extension (acronym for which is MANAGE) set
                 extension services, and                        up as an apex institute to train middle and senior
        (iii) Coordination failures at multiple levels.         level officers of the states/UTs.
     For the improvement of the AES in the country
     the suggested policy steps are:49                             PmFBy
           (i) Implementing a new scheme or additional          The Government of India launched a new
                 outlays in existing schemes.                   agricultural insurance scheme in January 2016.
         (ii) Need of ‘one-stop-shop’ that offers both          The new scheme51—Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima
                 hardware and software solutions to raise       Yojana (PMFBY)—has been termed as a path
                                                                breaking scheme for farmers’ welfare. The highlights
       47.    GFRAS (Global Forum for Rural Advisory Services), of this scheme are as given below:
              2010 – quoted by the Economic Survey 2015-16,
              Vol. 2, p. 111.                                     50.    Ministry of Finance, Economic Survey 2015–16,
       48.    NITI Aayog, Task Force on Agriculture, 2015.               Pulbication Division, India 2016; Ministry of Finance,
       49.    Ministry of Finance, Economic Survey 2015–16,              Economic Survey 2014–15.
              p. 112.                                             51.    Government of India, N. Delhi, January 13th, 2016.