Support To State Extension Programmes For Extension Reforms (ATMA Scheme)
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 & 2014. Coverage of the scheme was increased in a phased manner. It is currently operational in 676 districts. 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 strengthen district 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.
AIMS and OBJECTIVES:
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.
• Ensuring an integrated, broad-based extension delivery mechanism consistent with farming system approach with a focus on bottom up planning process.
• 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 Organizations;
• 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.
ATMA component will be implemented through the institutional mechanism as detailed below:
(i) The State Level Sanctioning Committee (SLSC) set up under Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana (RKVY) is the apex body to approve State Extension Work Plan (SEWP) which will form a part of the State Agriculture Plan (SAP). In those cases where SLSC meeting cannot be held in time or there is any other administrative reason, SEWP can be approved by the Executive Committee of SAME on the recommendation of InterDepartmental Working Group (IDWG).
(ii) The SLSC may be supported by the IDWG which is responsible for day-to-day coordination and management of the Scheme activities within the State.
(iii) The State Nodal Cell (SNC), consisting of State Nodal officer, State Coordinator, State Gender Coordinator and supporting staff will ensure timely receipt of District Agriculture Action Plans (DAAPs), formulation of State Extension Work Plan (SEWP) duly incorporating farmers’ feedback obtained through State Farmer Advisory Committee (SFAC) and its approval by the SLSC. The SNC will then convey the approval and monitor implementation of these work plans by State Agricultural Management & Extension Training Institutes (SAMETIs) and ATMAs. The SAMETIs will draw-up and execute an Annual Training Calendar for capacity building of the Extension Functionaries in the State. While doing so, the SAMETI will check duplication and overlapping of training content, training schedule, and trainees themselves.
ATMA is an autonomous institution set up at district level to ensure delivery of extension services to farmers. ATMA Governing Board is the apex body of ATMA which provides overall policy direction. ATMA Management Committee is the executive body looking after implementation of the scheme. District Farmers Advisory Committee is a body to provide farmers’ feedback for district level planning and implementation. With dedicated staff provided for the ATMA, it will continue to be the district level nodal agency responsible for overall management of agriculture extension system within the district, including preparation of Strategic Research and Extension Plan (SREP).
The Block ATMA Cell consisting of Block Technology Team (BTT) (a team comprising officers of agriculture and other allied departments within the block) and Block Farmers’ Advisory Committee (BFAC) (a group exclusively consisting of selected farmers of the block) will prepare the Block Action Plan (BAP) and provide necessary extension support within the Block in its execution.
(i) The Farmer Friend (FF) will serve as a vital link between extension system and farmers at village level (one for every two villages).
(ii) Agri-entrepreneurs, Diploma holders in Agricultural Extension Services for Input Dealers (DAESI), Input Dealers and extension workers in nongovernmental sector will supplement the efforts of extension functionaries.
(iii)Commodity Interest Groups (CIGs), Farmer Interest Groups (FIGs) and Food Security Groups (FSGs) will serve as a nodal point for information & technology dissemination among its members.
(iv)Farm Schools will serve as a mechanism for farmer-to-farmer extension at every Block.