World Soil Day Observed

2019 ias preliminary exam test series

Every year World Soil Day is celebrated on 5th December. In India, Soil Health Card scheme was launched in February 2015 in Rajasthan.

India’s strengths in agriculture are many and diverse. Geographically, India has the second-largest arable area, and as many as 127 diverse agro-climatic zones, thereby giving India global leadership in several crops.

India ranks second globally, in terms of production of rice, wheat, fish, fruits and vegetables. India is also the world’s biggest milk producer. Even our horticulture sector has shown an average growth of 5.5% annually over the last decade.

The Soil Health Card mobile App has been launched to help the farmers. The app will benefit field-level workers as it will automatically capture GIS coordinates while registering sample details at the time of sample collection in the field and indicate the location from where the sample has been collected.

This app works like other Geotagging apps developed for the Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana. The app contains farmers’ details including name, Aadhaar card number, mobile number, gender, address, crop details, etc.

SHC informs farmers about nutrients status of the soils along with the recommendation on appropriate dosage of nutrients to improve soil health and fertility. A farm will get the soil card once in every 2 years so that nutrients deficiency can be regularly detected and improved.

The imbalanced use of fertilizers damages the fields and reduces production. In the first phase (2015-17) 100 million SHCs have been distributed so far. The aim of the Ministry is to provide SHC to all 120 million farm holdings by December, 2017. The second phase began on May 1, 2017, and will continue for the year 2017 to 2019.

The key features of Soil Health Card include a uniform approach to collect samples and test them in the laboratory, covering all the land in the country and renew SHC every two years.

This scheme is being implemented in collaboration with State Governments. GPS based soil sample collection has been made compulsory to monitor the changes in soil and to prepare a systematic database to compare them with the past years’.

The online registration of samples and test results are uploaded on the National Portal of the Soil Health Card. Based on the test results, the system automatically calculates the recommendations. Soil Health Card is prepared in 14 local languages and distributed to the farmers.

The SHC portal has been linked to the Integrated Fertilizer Management System (iFMS) and distribution of fertilizers has started in 16 districts on the basis Soil Health Card recommendation as a pilot scheme.

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