Extension Reforms in India were pilot tested in 28 Districts in 7 States from 1998 to 2005. This successful experiment served as a basis to launch the Scheme �Support to State Extension Programmes for Extension Reforms� in the year 2005-06. It was revamped, expanded and strengthened comprehensively in the year 2010. Coverage of the scheme was increased in a phased manner. It is currently operational in 639 districts and the remaining rural districts are also proposed to be covered. The 12th Plan Approach Paper identifies several challenges faced by the agricultural extension and also gives suggestions to deal with the same. Some of these include integrating Krishi Vigyan Kendra?s (KVKs) problem solving skills and the feed-back they provide to State Agriculture Universities (SAUs) and National Agriculture Research System (NARS) with ATMA and strengthendistrict level planning; using technology to reach out to the farmers, raising capability of rural poor to conserve and manage their livestock and fisheries resources and derive sustainable incomes; link small farmers to markets; promote decentralized participatory research as well as knowledge intensive alternatives in rain-fed regions. .
The Scheme „Support to State Extension Programmes for Extension Reforms‟ aims at making extension system farmer driven and farmer accountable by disseminating technology to farmers through new institutional arrangements viz. Agricultural Technology Management Agency (ATMA) at district level to operationalize the extension reforms on a participatory mode.
This Scheme shall focus on the following key extension reforms:
- Encouraging multi-agency extension strategies involving Public/ Private Extension Service Providers.
- Adopting group approach to extension in line with the identified needs and requirements of the farmers in the form of CIGs & FIGs and consolidate them as Farmers Producer Organisations
- Facilitating convergence of farmer centric programmes in planning, execution and implementation.
- Addressing gender concerns by mobilizing farm women into groups and providing training to them