Absence of adequate and well trained human resources at the grass root level is impacting the quality of India's official agriculture statistics, National Sample Survey Office (NSSO) has found.
On an average a 'patwari', a village level primary worker who is responsible for crop area enumeration, covers seven villages in each crop season. The overburdening of 'patwaris' have resulted in errors in data collection, and delays in submission of data, both negatively impacting the quality of the outcome, the findings of the Improvement of Crop Statistics Scheme (ICS) implemented jointly by NSSO and state governments say.
The analysis of five years All India figures reveals that only in 30-53 per cent of cases, the Timely Reporting Scheme (TRS) is completed in time. Similarly, in about 9 to 29 per cent cases of the survey numbers, one or the other type of error occurs while reporting the area by primary worker. "This is a discouraging situation and indicates that the training given to the primary worker (PW) is not adequate".
In the process of locating the deficiencies in the system of crop statistics, the scheme for ICS observes three types of errors in area reporting viz., non-reporting of crops actually grown, reporting crops actually not grown and reporting of incorrect area of crops.
NSSO notes that the crop statements submitted by 'patwaris' are often delayed with large percentage of non-response. "The entries are found to be incorrect in a large number of survey numbers.
Adequate number of printing forms, maps and equipment should be procured in advance which are required for crop cutting experiments. In the absence of proper and standard equipment's the quality of the experiments suffers badly. While an untrained worker cannot conduct the experiment properly, supply of essential equipment and their proper use is required for accuracy in measurements. This calls for strong administrative measures for effecting further improvement," the agency observes.
The agency points out that most of the delay in reporting of statistics are because of slow analysis and processing of data. "Since Electronic Data Processing (EDP) facilities (computerisation) are developing fast, it is felt that states should develop these facilities at the district/tehsil level. It would help the states to reduce the time for analysis and processing of data and thus reducing the delays in submission of results," it suggests.