Soil Health Card

What is a Soil Health card?
  • It is a printed report card issued to farmers once in three years indicating the status of his soil in terms of 12 parameters.
  • It is also accompanied by an advice on the various fertilizers and other soil amendments the farmer is supposed to make.
  • Every farmer in the country is proposed to be issued the Soil Health Card — 14 crore SHCs are envisaged to be issued over the next 3 years.
Features of Soil health Cards
  • SHC is field-specific detailed report of soil fertility status and other important soil parameters that affect crop productivity.
Details in a Soil Health Card
Information regarding Soil Fertility
Dosage of fertilizer application in crops
Information on soil amendments of saline or alkaline soil
Recommendation on integrated nutrient management
  • Twelve parameters which include major nutrients, pH, total dissolved salts, minor nutrients etc. are tested — the test results are shown with colour codes for ease of understanding.
  • Soil testing programme started in India in the year 1955-56 with the setting up of 16 Soil Testing Laboratories under “Determination of Soil Fertility and Fertilizer Use” programme.
  • Quite a few states, including Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, and Haryana have been successfully distributing such cards.
  • Up to March 2012, over 48 crore soil health cards have been issued to farmers. However, no uniform norms were followed in the country for soil analysis and distribution of such information before the issue of Soil Health Cards. Through SHC Scheme, Centre plans to make this a pan India effort.
Benefits of SHC
  • The existing Nitrogen – Phosphorous – Potassium (NPK) consumption ratio in the country is skewed at 8.2:3.2:1 (2012-13) as against the preferred ratio of 4:2:1.
  • Imbalanced application of fertilizers have caused deficiency of primary nutrients (i.e. NPK), secondary nutrients (such as Sulphur), and micronutrients (boron, zinc, copper etc.), in most parts of country.
  • SHC will ensure that farmers do not spend money unnecessarily on purchase of fertilizers by adding more than required.
  • Once there is economy on the use of chemical fertilizers, the cost of production is expected to decrease.
  • Promotion of integrated nutrient system is expected to reduce the consumption of chemical fertilizers by 20% thereby easing the fiscal strain on Government. Fertilizer sector accounts for a significant percentage of the total subsidies and power consumption in the country.
  • India imports large quantity of various fertilizers to meet the demand — the soil test based fertilizer usage will reduce import bill and will also ensure higher yields per unit.
  • Over a period of time SHC can determine changes in soil health that are affected by land management.
Complementary Schemes
  • Like SHC, certain other related web based applications were launched in July 2015:
    Fertilizer Quality Control System — for official use by the fertilizer quality control laboratories for testing samples of imported fertilizers.Participatory Guarantee Systems (PGS-India) — provides certification of organic products. It is an internationally applicable organic quality assurance system [like ISO 9000] regarding the process of production, based on verifiable trust. It is implemented and controlled by the committed organic farmer-producers along with the consumers.
Write a critical note on the objectives, significance and performance of Soil Health Cards (SHC) programme. (200 Words)
India Government recently launched Soil Health Card (SHC) scheme which would be providing to the farmers the assessment report of soil health and its needs based on scientific lab tests.
The objectives of this scheme are-
  1. To disburse 14 crore SHCs within 3 years.
  2. To provide crucial information regarding soil’s depleting health and nutrient composition. To provide information regarding corrective measures to be taken.
  3. Overall to increase agricultural production, boost farmers income. The significance of scheme are multiple-
  4. Assist farmer in supplying needed micro, macro and secondary nutrients to the soil through proper fertilizer mix up which at present is dominated by urea.Will provide information based on different crops thus helping farmer select most appropriate crop pattern hence reducing risk of low productivity or crop failure.Will lead to diverse crop pattern which at present circles around wheat & rice and thus better production of diverse agricultural products hence effect on food inflation and economy as a whole.
    This scheme on combination with others like krishi sinchayi yojna, easy loans to farmers, better monsoon forecast could help the agriculture sector perform better.
However its significance depends on its steady and effective implementation which at present looks sluggish as many states have not even started taking soil samples for test like Arunanchal Pradesh, Sikkim while some has taken sample but slow in distributing the SHCs like Tamilnadu. Hence scheme needs boost in efforts.

1 thought on “Soil Health Card”

  1. Notes is good. It would be better if the following information is added and updated
    Where the scheme was launched. ( Rajasthan)
    Sharing of funds between center and state( Ratio)

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