The Scheme ‘Support to State Extension Programmes for Extension Reforms (ATMA)’ a component of Centrally Sponsored Scheme “Sub-Mission on Agriculture Extension (SMAE) under National Mission on Agricultural Extension and Technology (NMAET) is now under implementation in 652 districts of 29 states & 3 UTs of the country.
The scheme promotes decentralized farmer-driven and farmer-accountable extension system through an institutional arrangement for technology dissemination in the form of an Agricultural Technology Management Agency (ATMA) at district level. Under the scheme grants-in-aid is released to states governments with an objective to support their efforts of revitalization of the extension system and making available the latest agricultural technologies in different thematic areas to increase agricultural production through extension activities viz. Farmers Training, Demonstrations, Exposure Visits, Kisan Mela, Mobilization of Farmers Groups and Setting up of Farm Schools. Through these activities, latest agriculture technologies are disseminated to farmers of the country.
1. The Scheme is implemented through the institutional mechanism set up at State, District, Block and Village level as detailed below:
i. At State Level:
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). The SLSC is supported by the Inter Departmental Working Group (IDWG) which is responsible for day-to-day coordination and management of the Scheme activities within the State. The State Nodal Cell (SNC), consisting of State Nodal officer, State Coordinator, State Gender Coordinator and supporting staff 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 convey the approval and monitor implementation of these work plans by State Agricultural Management & Extension Training Institutes (SAMETIs) and ATMAs.
ii. At District level:
An autonomous institution viz. Agricultural Technology Management Agency (ATMA) set up at district level is responsible 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. ATMA is 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).
iii. At Block Level:
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) prepare the Block Action Plan (BAP) and provide necessary extension support within the Block in its execution.
iv. At village level:
The following mechanism is involved in disseminating information:
• The Farmer Friend (FF) serves as a vital link between extension system and farmers at village level (one for every two villages).
• Agri-entrepreneurs, Diploma holders in Agricultural Extension Services for Input Dealers (DAESI), Input Dealers and extension workers in non-governmental sector supplement the efforts of extension functionaries.
• Commodity Interest Groups (CIGs), Farmer Interest Groups (FIGs) and Food Security Groups (FSGs) serve as a nodal point for information & technology dissemination among its members.
• Farm Schools set up on the field of progressive/ awardee serve as a mechanism for farmer-to-farmer extension at every Block.
2. Release of funds under ATMA scheme is based on State Extension Work Plans (SEWPs) prepared by the State Governments in consonance with a 5 year perspective Strategic Research & Extension Plan.
Guidelines for Modified 'Support to State Extension Programmes for Extension Reforms' Schemes, 2015.
3. Allocation of resources for activities related to extension is linked to number of Farm Households and Blocks.
4. At least, 10% of allocation on recurring activities at district level is to be used through non-governmental sector.
5. Innovative Technology Dissemination components such as hand-held device, pico-projectors, kala jathas etc. are being promoted for dissemination of information in a real time basis and also for collection of farm level data.
6. Extension services through mobile telephony have been given a major thrust.
7. Convergence among farmer centric extension activities various Sub-Missions of NMAET and other Missions / Schemes through the institution of ATMA is being promoted. Research & Extension are also moving together in the field as per a joint circular issued by DAC & ICAR.