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Government set to tap panchayats for agro data
- Government decides to create pool of 20000 trained personnel for gathering statistics at ground level

Patna, Nov 16: The state government has decided to introduce a system that would allow compilation of all data related to agricultural work and other statistics at the panchayat-level.

Earlier, the compilation was done at the block-level.

The shift would be part of the ambitious Bihar Integrated Statistical Development Programme (BISDP), which entails putting in place a system that would allow collection of ground-level data in an authentic manner, setting up automated weather stations in blocks and ensuring cent per cent registration of all births and deaths in the state.

The state government has sanctioned Rs 65.38 crore for BISDP for the current fiscal (2011-12). The panchayat-level agriculture sector data would be a boon for farmers going for crop insurance, because the insurance companies take the block-level data for making their assessment. The block-level data do not depict the real picture even if one or two panchayats face natural disaster and crop in other panchayats are good.

Once the panchayat-level data were available, insurance companies would get the data and farmers of affected panchayats would get benefits of crop insurance even if the overall data of a block is good.

As far as collecting data from panchayat is concerned, the planning and development department, under which the state statistical directorate functions, has decided to create a pool of over 20,000 trained personnel, whose services would be roped in for data collection work.

“BISDP entails having three trained persons in every panchayat whose services would be taken as per requirement. To begin with, these persons would be used to collect agriculture related data. We plan to use them for other data collection work too whenever there is need of such data,” a senior state government official told The Telegraph on condition of anonymity.

Local residents who have a matriculation degree and fall in the age group of 18-65 years would be selected for this work. And to ensure that these resource persons are well equipped for data collection work, it has also been decided to impart them a month’s training. The training sessions would be conducted at the sub-division-level.

“To create a pool of trainers for conducting the programme, we have decided to impart specialised training to teachers of economics and mathematics working in the Plus Two government schools in districts. They would be trained by statistical directorate officials and after training they would work as master trainers for conducting the training programmes for resource persons,” said the official. He added that these resource persons would be paid for their services.

As things stand now, revenue department employees (Halka Karmchari), under whose jurisdiction a particular area of a revenue circle falls and who are supposed to carry out the data collection work under the existing system, generally fail to provide data on time. Questions have also been raised on the authenticity of data provided by them.

“Availability of trained resource persons at panchayat-level would help in overcoming this handicap,” said the official. A major component of BISDP pertains to registration of births and deaths and it has been decided to rope in the services of anganvadi sevikas for making this process simple. At present, registration of just about 30 per cent of births is done in Bihar despite the fact that the Registration of Births and Deaths Act has made the registration of births and deaths compulsory.

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