Guidelines (QMS format)NICNET Based Agricultural Marketing Information System Network (AGMARKNET)
1.0 Agricultural Marketing is an area for the "second generation" of green revolution problems. Indian Marketing is undergoing a significant metamorphosis because of economic liberalization and globalisation. Infrastructure development is the critical factor for determining the success of market-oriented strategy and macro-economic policies in developing countries. Both national and global players are trying to capture the urban markets of India, which has already reached a saturation level, and it is extremely difficult to tap the urban markets with high profit margin. In export market, a firm has to face challenges from Multi-National Corporates (MNCs), other foreign companies and domestic firms of the concerned export markets. While urban market or export market is difficult to plough, rural market is relatively easy and feasible to cultivate, in India.
1.1 Market information is an important aspect of Agricultural Marketing. The importance of sound agricultural marketing policies for ensuring fair returns to the farmers can hardly be over-emphasized. It, therefore, becomes necessary on the part of regulatory agencies to ensure remunerative prices to the farmers for the sale of their produce, to boost up their efforts for increasing and sustaining the agricultural production. A number of measures have been taken by the Government to protect and safeguard the interests of farmers, like regulation of markets, grading of agricultural produce, cooperative marketing etc. Still the benefits are not percolating down to the farmers, as they are unable to plan their strategies for sale of their produce at remunerative prices, in the absence of correct and timely market information and advice about arrivals, prices, market trend, etc.
1.2 Almost all the States and Union Territories are providing market information in one form or the other for the benefits of market users like producers, traders and consumers. However, the information is collected and disseminated by use of conventional methods which cause inordinate delay in communicating the information to different target groups, and thus adversely affecting their economic interest. Therefore, there is an urgent need to bring improvement in the present market information system by linking (i) all Agricultural Produce Wholesale markets in the States and Union Territories, and (ii) the State Agricultural Marketing Boards and State Directorates of Agricultural Marketing, with the Directorate of Marketing & Inspection of the Ministry of Agriculture, for effective and efficient information exchange. In view of this importance, the Department of Agriculture & Cooperation, in the Union Ministry of Agriculture has sanctioned a Central Sector Scheme "NICNET Based Agricultural Marketing Information Network (AGMARK-NET)", Project Cost estimate of about Rs.10.00 Crores, to link 810 nodes (735 agricultural markets and 75 State Marketing Boards/DMI offices) to begin with, through its attached office, Directorate of Marketing and Inspection (DMI), during the year 2000-02. During the X five year plan, further expansion to 2000 additional markets, Regional Portals and GIS based National atlas of Markets has also been approved . The Scheme is being implemented during the XI Plan period by enhancing its scope to cover 500 additional markets including remaining principal regulated markets, if any, farmer/consumer markets, private markets, panchayat markets, urban markets and special commodity markets.
2. The Objectives of the Central Sector Scheme Agricultural Marketing Information System Network are as follows:-
i) To establish a nation-wide information network for speedy collection and dissemination of market information and data for its efficient and timely utilization.
ii) To facilitate collection and dissemination of information related to better price realization by the farmers. This would cover:
(a) Market related information such as market fee, market charges, costs, method of sale, payment, weighment, handling, market functionaries, development programmes, market laws, dispute settlement mechanism, composition of market committees, income and expenditure, etc.
(b) Price-related information such as minimum, maximum and model prices of varieties and quantities transacted, total arrivals and dispatches with destination, marketing costs and margins, etc.;
(c) Infrastructure related information comprising facilities and services available to the farmers with regard to storage and warehousing, cold storage, direct markets, grading, rehandling and repacking etc.; and
(d) Promotion related information covering accepted standards and grades, labeling, sanitary and phyto-sanitary requirements, pledge finance, marketing credit and new opportunities available in respect of better marketing;
iii) To Sensitize and orient farmers to respond to new challenges in agricultural marketing by using ICT as a vehicle of extension.
iv) To Improve efficiency in agricultural marketing through regular training and extension for reaching region-specific farmers in their own language.
v) To Provide assistance for marketing research to generate marketing information for its dissemination to farmers and other marketing functionaries at grass-root level to create an ambience of good marketing practices in the country.
3.0 National Informatics Centre (NIC) is the nodal S&T organization in the Ministry of Communications & Information Technology, for informatics development and networking in government, corporate and cooperative sectors for decision support. NIC offers state-of-the-art network services in the country, over C-band and Ku-band (TDMA, FTDMA & SCPC) VSATs, Wireless Metropolitan Area Networks (MANs) and Local Area Networks (LANs) with NICNET gateway for Internet resources, so as to facilitate economic, social, scientific and technological activities, and also for macro-economic adjustment programme of the Government. NIC implements IT projects, in collaboration with the Central/State Governments, in respect of
3.1 NIC provides the state-of-the-art IT solutions to information management, information dissemination, and decision support requirements of the Central as well as state Governments, the Corporate Sector and the Cooperative Sector. NIC plays an important role in the area of informatics for development, which inter alia includes :-
NIC Project Offices have been established in 1980s, with NICNET facilities for Internet & Intranet access, through an Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), in all the Central Government (Civilian) Departments/ Ministries, 28 State Government Secretariats, 6 Union Territories Administration Secretariats, 1 National Capital Territory Government Secretariat, and 550+ District Collectorates.
Web Site: http://www.nic.in
5.0 The Directorate Of Marketing and Inspection (DMI), headed by Agricultural Marketing Advisor to the Government of India (AMA), implements agricultural marketing programmes of the Central Government, under the supervision and control of the Central Ministry of Agriculture. DMI aims at bringing integrated development of marketing of agricultural and allied produce in the country, and maintains a close liaison between the Central and State Governments through its regional offices (11) and sub-offices (37) spread all over the country. DMI has a network of 22 regional Agmark Laboratories with its Central Agmark Laboratory at Nagpur. Its thrust areas / functional responsibilities include :-
6.0 Marketing of agricultural products comprises different business activities, different flows of products (called marketing channel) and different firms (called middle man) performing two main functions:
As in all aspects of business, realising potential net gains of efficient marketing activities requires technically sound analysis. Increasing competition and complexities in agricultural marketing will require more sophisticated analysis and understanding (Information Technology diffusion) in the future than what has been in the past.
6.1 The availability of prompt and reliable market information about what is happening in the market, what quantities are arriving and what prices are quoted for different commodities considerably improves the decision making capability of the farmers and strengthens their bargaining power. At present, the information is disseminated through various media like radio, newspapers, blackboard display and public address system at Wholesale Market yards. The information provided by these methods has a limited use and does not help much to the farmers in taking decisions in marketing of their produce. The farmers are also not able to know about the prices prevailing in other markets, as the Market Committees are able to disseminate information mostly in respect of their own markets. The farmers are, therefore, left with no alternative but to dispose off their produce in the nearest market, even at uneconomic prices. Further, the market intelligence data are presently compiled in registers, which are difficult to maintain. It is also difficult to analyse the voluminous information thus collected for making decision. Therefore, a need has been felt to improve the existing market information system by linking all the important Wholesale Markets in the States and Union Territories, the State Agricultural Marketing Boards, and State Agricultural Marketing Directorates, under Agricultural Marketing Information Network, by installing computer facilities and connecting with NICNET for Internet and Intranet services.
6.2 A large amount of data with more accuracy, can be stored in computer , analysed and retrieved within shortest possible time. AGMARKNET will ensure dissemination of data through network to any distance with the help of communication devices for the benefit of citizens, farmers, traders, consumers, etc. The improved communication system will enable the producers to know about probable markets where they can dispose of their produce more profitably. The traders and consumers can also derive maximum advantage out of their purchases at low communication cost. The modernisation of market information system, will lead to the efficiency in the markets and increased participation of the farmers. This efficiency of the markets and farmers participation in the markets will be increased. This will increase the income of the farmers which, in turn, will activate them to increase the agricultural production.
7.0 The scheme is being implemented at Agricultural Produce Wholesale Markets, State Agricultural Marketing Departments/Boards (Annexure-II) by DMI through National Informatics Centre (NIC) on a turn-key basis. NIC procures, installs and maintains the hardware, software, connectivity, impart training to computer operators and implements a customised application software in the identified AGMARKNET Nodes (Wholesale Markets) under this scheme and State Agricultural Marketing Departments / Boards. The software facilitates transmission of daily prices (Minimum, Maximum, Modal) [commodity-wise, varietywise, originwise, gradewise] and arrivals data [commodity-wise], to the respective State Marketing Boards/ Directorates and DMI Headquarters for updating in the AGMARKNET server for Internet / Intranet Access. The national database on prices and arrivals and a portal on market information is being maintained by DMI Faridabad. Linkages with Regional Portals are being evolved as per the approved X plan scheme .
7.1 The Directorate of Marketing and Inspection (DMI), Faridabad has been equipped with (i) one State-Of-Art FTDMA KU Band VSAT, (ii) a powerful Computer Server, and (iii) Software tools, to facilitate the development of AGMARKNET as an INTRANET over NICNET. Each identified Wholesale Market will be linked to NICNET for up-linking data, via Dial-up connection, through email, for which Rs. 3000 per annum has been earmarked for Internet Access Charge. The comprehensive database on Prices and Arrivals and other related aspects is being maintained at AGMARKNET central database for generating various analytical reports. Necessary interface, using the local language support, for transmitting the daily data has been developed and customized at AGMARKNET Nodes, by NIC State Units.
7.2 Necessary training programmes (in batches of about 25) are arranged with the support of the NIC State units and NITPUs, for which approved project funds are made available to them.
During IX Plan, one official from each market was imparted training under the project. During X Plan, provision has been made to train two officials from each market. The respective State Marketing Boards/Directorates have to nominate these officials for undergoing at least 5 days training on computer awareness, application software, internet usage etc. Further, provision has been made to conduct 3 types of training viz Basic Awareness programme, Research & Analysis and Refresher training. The nominations should be notified to NIC at least 3 weeks in advance.
7.3 At each AGMARKNET node, the following Software Tools are provided:-
The software tools earmarked for DMI Headquarters are :
7.4 At each AGMARKNET node and State Agricultural Marketing Directorates and Boards, the following Hardware is provided :-
(supporting Hindi, English and a local language by default)
DMI Headquarters, is equipped with the following Hardware
* Server System (Wipro) : One
(Server Pentium-III 450 MHz , 128 MB RAM , 18 GB HDD,
17 Digital Colour Monitor)
* Client systems (HCL Infiniti Model) : Two
* Power Supply (Tritronics) : One
(2 KVA on-line UPS)
* LAN Switch (12-port) with accessories : One
(Baystack 304 )
* Communication equipment : One
(M/s Gilat FTDMA KU Band VSAT with sky surfer Card)
Laserjet Printer ( Xerox Modicorp) : One
Inkjet Printer (Xerox 9520)
Table-1 : Vendor Details for installing systems at AGMARKNET Node in States/UTs
9.0 NIC procures, installs and maintains the hardware, software, connectivity, impart training to computer operators and implements a customised application software in the identified AGMARKNET Nodes (Wholesale Markets) under this scheme and State Agricultural Marketing Departments/Boards. The major responsibilities of NIC are as follows:-
* Installation of Hardware / Software at the AGMARKNET nodes, State Agricultural Marketing Directorates/ Boards and DMI (Faridabad);
* Networking of AGMARK nodes, State Marketing Directorates/Boards and DMI (Faridabad);
* Training support to the officials at all the three levels to ensure effective use of the computing facilities (Annexure-IV);
* Development of application software to up-link data on daily prices (Minimum, Maximum, Modal) [commoditywise, varietywise, originwise, gradewise] and arrivals data [commodity-wise] to DMI Headquarters for updating in the AGMARKNET server for Internet/Intranet Access;
* Providing necessary support to the users for implementation of the system;
* Designating Nodal Officers in states for coordinating with the users at AGMARKNET nodes;
* Design and Development of Agricultural Marketing Portal for DMI (Faridabad) by Agricultural Informatics Division of NIC (New Delhi).
* Support services (Warranty and AMC) to AGMARKNET Nodes for three years from date of installation.
* Restoration of Computer System at AGMARKNET Nodes due to virus infection, mishandling, and voltage fluctuation will be undertaken only on payment basis from the User by the designated Vendor .
10.0 The major responsibilities of DMI to implement this scheme will be as follows:-
* To provide all necessary infrastructure like site preparation, electrical points with proper earth pit including sockets with switches, telephone line (with STD if required), space (minimum 100 Sq.feet) and furniture to keep computing system facilities & computer stationary, at Wholesale Markets, State Marketing Directorates, and State Agricultural Marketing Boards.
* Electrical points - 3 ( 5 Amp, 3 pin sockets with switches), input to be protected by 6 amp MCB;
* 220/230 V power supply;
* Line, neutral & Earth Connections on the specified socket terminals;
* Proper Earth Pit copper wire earthing (with earth to neutral voltage less than 3 V) with an exclusive phase.
* A dedicated telephone with STD facility (if required) and RJ 11 compatible sockets with two ports near the computer at each site.
* Timely payment of telephone rentals to ensure smooth connectivity
* Provision for recurring expenditure on consumables like floppy boxes, stationary and printer ribbons & printer head;
* To designate nodal officers for coordination with NIC offices at state and sub-state levels;
* To extend the necessary assistance to NIC project team for studying the requirements to facilitate application development at AGMARKNET Nodes level;
* To provide necessary inputs (e.g. Market wise commodity- variety lists) for System Requirement Specification (SRS) by NIC;
* To assist NIC State Units, through State Agricultural Marketing Boards and Directorates for specifying and translating the software requirements for local language implementation;
* To maintain, upload and update the national and state level Marketing Portals, by consolidating data from AGMARKNET Nodes in the state;
* To liaison with State Directorates/ Marketing boards:-
* To ensure that the next incumbents are properly trained, in case of transfer of officials, State Agricultural Marketing Boards and Directorate;
* To bear TA/DA for attending training programmes by the respective State Agricultural Marketing Boards and Directorates;
* To ensure necessary arrangements for periodical maintenance of all the sites where computers will be installed ;
* To identify an employee who will be responsible for regular collection and supply of data on daily basis after training, by State Agricultural Marketing Boards and Directorates, and who will also ensure the correctness and authenticity of market data;
* To generate reports for local dissemination at AGMARKNET Nodes level, using the customised application software;
11. As the scheme envisages to establish a nationwide information network for speedy collection and dissemination of market information data for "pricing efficiency", all AGMARKNET Nodes in wholesale markets will enter the data, in the prescribed format, using the customised application software "AGMARK", which will be explained, in detail, in the following sections. This software will facilitate marketwise time series analysis of data, and also at state level and national level.
12.0 Marketing of agricultural-related products involve physical handling, storage, processing and transfer of raw and finished goods (commodities), as they move from producers to consumers. There are a number of commodities handled in different Wholesale Markets spread all over the country. AGMARKNET database comprised about 300 commodities and 2000 varieties categorised into 14 groups viz
The application software "AGMARK" facilitates for all commodities being transacted in the Wholesale Market for their own use and analysis, in addition to meeting the requirements of DMI, provided the Wholesale Markets give complete details of the commodities transacted with respect to their varieties, grades, and places of origin. These details are required to build up "directory" in the information system, which is required for commodity-wise, variety-wise, grade-wise and place of origin-wise analysis.