Best known for his mammoth water conservation efforts in parched Dewas district in Madhya Pradesh for earning a name Jaladhish, derived from Hindi name Ziladhish (district collector), senior IAS officer Umakant Umrao is now busy helping out farmers while simplifying the functioning of credit societies and making fertiliser purchase a hassle-free affair.
Umrao, who is an IIT–Roorkee alumni and a member of a farming family in Uttar Pradesh, had created a wide network of ponds in water-deficient Dewas district. For lowering dependency on rain water, then Dewas collector had encouraged farmers to dig ponds in farm lands and now the district, a prosperous land, boasts of over 15,000 water bodies.
As Principal Secretary (Co-operative Department), the senior officer, who is well aware of the farming hardships, is ensuring an online system which will help anyone track stock of fertilisers at Primary Agricultural Credit Societies (PACS). The portal is being worked upon and soon will be made functional. This will help senior officers from Bhopal to monitor booking status and take corrective action. Around 4,500 PACS have been linked to this system. The portal mpmarkfed.mp.gov.in has offered this facility which will be launched soon.
Unavailability of fertiliser stocks during the peak demand period often leads to law and order situation in the State.
While talking to News18.com, Umakant Umrao detailed his priorities. Here are the excerpts:
Q. How this online function will work?
Umakant Umrao: The pre-booking facility for fertilisers was prevalent but hardly any farmer used this. But we are developing a portal which will be used to help farmer pre-book fertiliser online. Anyone from anywhere in the State can log on to the portal and check how much stock is available at any particular society.
Point of Sale (PoS) machines are already used at societies which help track the stocks for authorities.
Q. Will entire stock be available online?
Umakant Umrao: To prevent any possible hoarding by bigtime farmers, we will put 20% fertiliser available in stock for the online booking. This will help small and marginal farmers make purchases. The limit could be changed according to local situation.
Q. How a farmer can use this online system?
Umakant Umrao: Those members of the society could use this facility by using their registered mobile number. An OTP will be sent to their mobile number which will be used to log on to the portal and make bookings. Once the manager of the society approves the request, the booking will be completed.
Q. How this will help in streamlining supplies?
Umakant Umrao: Till now, we don’t have proper system in place to know which place requires the fertilisers first whenever supplies arrive. Once we know about the stock situation, law and order situation and unnecessary crowding at societies could be averted by streamlining supplies. We will assess past sales of fertilisers at the society before accepting fresh demands from these organisations.
Pre-booking will save farmers from unnecessary hassles as it could be possible that when farmers reach any society to buy fertilisers at any given day and stocks aren’t available, there are lengthy queues or society manager is not available.
Q. How the functioning of these societies is being improved?
Umakant Umrao: Till now, becoming a member of any Primary Agricultural Credit Society is a tedious task but we are now making it an online process, so that anyone is not required to take rounds at the society office for receiving membership.