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ISRO’s village-level vegetation data to help farmers get crop insurance pay offs

For farmers, proving that there has been 40% crop damage has so far been a tedious process which often delayed the insurance pay offs.

india Updated: Jan 10, 2018 13:01 IST
Malavika Vyawahare
Malavika Vyawahare
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
ISRO,Vegetation data,Crop damage
File photo of a farmer showing his damaged wheat crop due to unexpected rain in a village on the outskirts of Jalandhar. (HT PHOTO)

India will soon get village-level information about vegetative cover with ISRO’s Space Applications Centre (SAC) set to generate data for all states in the next two months which is expected to help streamline crop insurance pay offs.

“The Haryana government requested us for the data so we did a pilot project for them. It will help them settle crop insurance claims,” Tapan Misra, director at SAC in Ahmedabad, said. “It is very useful information so we have decided to do this for all states.”

The centre is now working with Punjab to generate vegetation data for the state. Both Punjab and Haryana have struggled to implement crop insurance schemes. A CAG report tabled in July 2017 pointed out that the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana, is not performing very well in eight states surveyed, including Haryana.

According to the insurance schemes, there should be 40% crop damage in a village for farmers to become eligible for relief. It often becomes difficult for farmers to prove that percentage of crop damage. But now, the data from the platform along with additional information about soil conditions and weather will help assess legitimate crop insurance pay offs.

ISRO has developed a way of automatically calculating the Normalised Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) which captures the vegetative cover, by analysing data from the Advanced Wide Field Sensor on board the Resourcesat satellite.

The VEDAS platform of ISRO, where the data for Haryana is currently hosted, provides three year trends for vegetation. In the future, Misra said longer term data could be made available.

First Published: Jan 10, 2018 12:58 IST