Daily Editorials for UPSC IAS Exam Preparation

Learn and Practice: Daily Editorial – Use of Technology for Agricultural Insurance


  • In budget 2017-18, the government has taken up several measures to revive the country’s agriculture economy
  • For that the government, through the PMFBY, is trying to bring more farmers targeting 50% by 2018 as one of the ways to reduce the vagaries of Agriculture in India.
  • But there is penetration of agriculture insurance in India, with challenges like insufficient risk coverage, delayed and inaccurate claim assessment, and leakage.

Challenges in achieving that target

  • To turn current situation around, it is important that forecasts for seasonal crop productions are made with the highest possible accuracy, and field warnings detected early so that an action plan may be implemented for irrigation, agri-credit and agri-inputs.
  • The stakeholders such as the government, insurers and agricultural research agencies need to be adequately equipped with the necessary details to deal with some of the farming issues

Use of Technology

Need for the use of technology

  • The introduction of new technology services into agriculture can provide a more detailed picture of risk at the farm level without the costs of collecting data manually.
  • Technological intervention can prevent time lags in publishing crop yield statistics for the cropping period to a minimal.
  • The government officials in India have conducted random-sample crop-cutting experiments (CCEs) to arrive at estimations of yield and the process is resource-heavy, and prone to sampling and non-sampling errors and manual subjectivities. It is, therefore, essential to bring in inclusive models that use data like weather and soil parameters to predict yield with more accuracy.

Technology Solutions

  1. The Internet of Things (IoT):
    1. The IoT promises increased yields, reduced costs and other efficiencies, with the deployment of sensors, connectivity and analytics.
    2. Soil sensors as an IoT technology can also be used to broadcast real-time information on the state of the soil. This can be combined with other data to forecast crop yields.


  1. Use of Satellites:
    1. Use satellite images to map the crop types, identify potential yield categories, calculate the area under each category, find locations with the maximum area and then select the number of samples for CCEs.
    2. Based on the data received, from remote sensing techniques, climate and other weather parameters, one can even try to conduct a large number of CCEs in the area where the probability of loss is high. This can be complemented with hand-held devices and smartphones to procure multiple images, which capture the heterogeneity of different field conditions in a village.


  1. Use of Drones:
    1. Use of drones to take images, recreate and analyse individual leaves from close-enough heights, assist in pest control, mid-season crop health monitoring, assess the soil-water-holding capacity.
    2. To create weed maps or frost damage maps is another option.
  2. Use of mobile apps:
    1. They can help provide evidence of canopy coverage or estimate the amount of fertilizer needed.
    2. They can also be used to collect information on insured area, insurance coverage and farmer profiles, which can help insurers to develop customized products for farmers.

Support from government:

  • The budget allocation of Rs 10,000 crore to the BharatNet Project and the set target of reaching nearly 150,000 gram panchayats with high-speed Internet will lay the foundation for a digital revolution in agriculture in India. But we need to speed-up the process. Easy Internet access will allow farmers to learn and implement the latest technologies available in the field of agriculture.
  • Need to ensure flow of credit to small farmers, all functional primary agriculture credit societies (PACS) should be integrated with the core banking system of district cooperative banks. Banks are the core distribution channel for the PMFBY and digitization will ensure penetration increases and that each farmer having access to credit is protected.
  • E-NAM (the National Agriculture Market) should be linked to the commodities market to allow farmers to access better prices for their produce.


There is huge potential for using technology to ensure implementation of agriculture insurance schemes in a sustainable manner. Use of advances in technology and data processing can go a long way in improving the agri-labour situation in the country; dependence on vagaries of monsoon can be reduced. Farmers can confidently carry out the occupation in turn reducing the suicides.


  1. Technology can go a long way in increasing the penetration of agricultural insurance. Enumerate the ways technology solutions can help in doing so.
  2. Agriculture in India is subject to the several localized issues and inconsistencies in monsoon. Discuss measures that we can to address the issue.

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