To ensure that the farmers get easy access to benefits distributed under various government schemes, the Karnataka government has launched software for Aadhar-based, single-window registration for the schemes. The state departments of agriculture, horticulture, animal husbandry, revenue, food, civil supplies and fisheries departments of the state government are covered under the initiative.
The Farmer Registration & Unified Beneficiary Information System or FRUITS software, facilitates single registration using an Aadhar card and Karnataka’s Bhoomi digitised land record system for authenticating ownership.
Through the creation of single digital identification through FRUITS, farmers can access benefits of hosts of schemes such as Direct Benefit Transfer under PM Kisan, payment for Minimum Support Prices (MSPs) for crops, special financial assistance, caste certificate authentication and ration cards.
“The software allows various departments to access information about the farmers under a single platform, which ensures better targeting and effectiveness in the implementation of the schemes,” Shakeel Ahmed, joint director — Horticulture, Karnataka told FE.
Using FRUITS data, the Karnataka government captures soil health and crop condition data using a GIS-based mobile app for three crop seasons– summer, Kharif and Rabi. This data is generated through local youth who are trained in using mobile applications for more than 2.1 crore agricultural plots in the state.
This helps in assessing robust assessment of the production of various crops including paddy, ragi, jowar, tur, Bengal gram, ground nut and copra and helps in crop survey for settlements under the crop insurance scheme.
The horticulture department of Karnataka started to use the software in 2017-18.
Currently, all the other departments have adopted the usage of this software for cutting down multiple registration requirements for farmers for various schemes and helped better targeting. Officials said that several states have shown interest in replicating the FRUITS initiative.
Initially, the crop survey started in Kharif in 2017 on pilot using government officials but because of the staff crunch, Ahmed said since 2018 local trained youths are trained to capture GIS-based data.
“FRUITS is electronically integrated with crops survey and fetches crop details of land belonging to each farmer and provides it to scheme to implement departments,” Ahmed said.
The software was also integrated with Karnataka State Natural Disaster Monitoring Centre, from which daily weather and rainfall data were provided to farmers based on their locations.
More than 7.8 million farmers have been registered with FRUITS software out of this more than 6.2 million farmers have registered their land records.
Several landless dairy farmers are also registered with the common digital platform for availing benefits, especially `4 per litre of subsidy given to farmers for milk procured by Karnataka Milk Federation.
The software was developed by National Informatic Centre, Karnataka unit while the crop survey application has been developed by Karnataka State Electronics Development Corporation.
Sources said that the experience of the software in streamlining various schemes rolled out for farmers in Karnataka will be presented at a conclave of Chief Secretaries to be held during June 16-17 in Dharamsala, Himachal Pradesh. Prime Minister Narendra Modi will attend the conclave which will focus on key issues of urban governance, education and agriculture.