Press Information Bureau
Government of India
Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare
24-February-2016 17:14 IST
Agriculture and Farmers Welfare Minister stressed upon building network of soil testing laboratories

Advised States to promote portable mini labs and position them at Block / Panchayat level

Agriculture & Farmers Welfare Minister reviewed Soil Health Card Scheme

Union Agriculture & Farmers Welfare Minister, Shri Radha Mohan Singh reviewed Soil Health Card Scheme with Secretaries (Agriculture) / Directors (Agriculture) of States on 23.02.2016. In his opening remarks Minister mentioned that Soil Health Card (SHC) Scheme is an important scheme of the Government. It aims at promoting soil test based and balanced use of fertilizers, so that the farmer can realize higher yields at lower cost.

The target for the year 2015-16 is to collect 100 lakh soil samples and test these for issue of Soil Health Cards to farmers. During discussion with states, it was observed that States like Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Sikkim, Gujarat, Bihar, Tripura, Tamil Nadu, Meghalaya, Maharashtra, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Kerala, Telangana, Rajasthan, and Jharkhand have shown good performance in soil sample collection. Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Goa and Sikkim shown good performance in distribution of Soil Health Card and they are expected to achieve the target by March, 2016. Agriculture & Farmers Welfare Minister asked the other States to expedite on their performance so as to complete the target as per time scheduled.

States and Union Territories attended the review meeting. Against the target of 104 lakh soil samples, the States have reported collection of 81 lakh soil samples and tested 52 lakh soil samples. By now the States have distributed 1.12 crore soil health cards and 2 core cards are under printing, which will also be distributed before March, 2016. Samples are testing for one crore cards. States assured that 20 lakhs samples will be taken by March 2016.

Shri Singh stressed upon building network of soil testing laboratories. The guidelines of the scheme have been amended to set up soil testing labs as well as mini labs through Capital Investment Subsidy Scheme (CISS) implemented through NABARD. The guidelines have been modified to involve science students of Agriculture and other science colleges in soil health card programme.

Agriculture and Farmers Welfare Minister also reviewed setting up of soil testing labs. Most of the States are under the process of tender for purchase of equipment for the labs. Shri Singh advised the States to use the funds released by the Government and set up more laboratories with facility for micronutrient testing. He also advised them to promote portable mini labs and position them at Block / Panchayat level so that target is achieved in time.

National Portal on Soil Health Card was reviewed and found that some States have not come on board; they are Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Goa, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Telangana and Tripura. Against 80 lakh samples collected only 6.5 lakh samples have been registered on the Portal. These States were advised to train their staff through e-learning programme being conducted by NIC and to start use of the National Portal. The NIC Officers made a presentation on Mobile Phone Application at village level to capture soil health card data using Android Phone.