Geo Fencing Technology
Automation of National Mission on Micro Irrigation (NMMP) Scheme with Remote Monitoring through Mobile Geo-fencing technology
The Department of Horticulture and Plantation Crops: the Government of Tamil Nadu (India), the Department of Horticulture & Plantation Crops is headed by a
Commissioner, generally a senior IAS Officer. He reports to the Secretary to Government, Agriculture Department and the Hon'ble Minister for Agriculture. Commissioner is also ex-Officio MD of TANHODA.
TANHODA: is the implementing agency for the National Mission on Micro Irrigation (NMMI), a Centrally Sponsored project. With the objective of increasing area under
irrigation, enhancing water use efficiency and increasing productivity of crops, the National Mission on Micro Irrigation is being implemented in Tamil Nadu. An area of
30,000 hectares will be brought under micro irrigation every year. Tamil Nadu was the only state n the country that had declared declared 100% subsidy to Small and Marginal Farmers (Cultivating less than 5 hectares) and 75% subsidy to other
farmers wishing to install MI systems in their fields.
Problems: Of late, there has been numerous Right to Information Act (RTI) petitions requesting TANHODA to provide details of beneficiaries etc, and adverse newspaper
reports, as there is great suspicion that money is being siphoned off without actual installation of the system through collusion of the farmer, Micro Irrigation (MI) Company agent and Horticulture Officials. One District Collector had written to the
Commissioner with photographic evidence of just one installation in one field being photographed with three different farmers in three different positions and taking out 3
bills. The other problem is that the entire area was not covered as was mentioned in the application. A third worry is that the some of the small and marginal farmers sometimes sell off the MI system after installation, which are discovered only by the
audit teams, leaving Horticultural officials vulnerable to charges of collusion. Thus monitoring of the implementation of the NMMI programme was proving to be difficult.
Yet another problem was that work order approval took about 3 months, then payment of subsides to the MI companies took between more than 3 months to one year, due to an outdated manual system, because of which it was virtually
impossible to know where the delay was. Delays mean approvals are got after the planting season. There is also considerable transaction costs involved for the farmers as well as MI Companies to get the necessary approvals. This could to
some extent be mitigated by intensive monitoring through reviews and filed visits by the Commissioner and his head office team. Given the huge numbers involved, this
was always a futile exercise. Allegations and petitions keep pouring in. There is very little the Commissioner can do in the absence of real time information, except use
the carrot and the stick. Invariably there would be a huge arrear of installations and release of subsidies at the end of the financial year. This system has to change if the
benefits intended for farmers by the Government has to reach them on time, and the constant complaint of the MI companies that TANHODA had to pay them huge arrears had to be answered.
The "As is" Process: The farmer is free to select one of the 32 MI Companies empanelled by TANHODA. But before that he has
1. To place his request at the Deputy Director Horticulture (DDH) office at the District headquarters, attaching all land related revenue records and the MI company he wishes to use.
2. The details are entered into a software developed about 5 years back. It is not a user friendly software and its use is limited to the registration of the farmer application process. The architecture of the software is such that it is extremely
difficult to retrieve information with any great clarity. The system is mostly not updated, only the final few steps are entered, making it difficult to arrive at many
much needed statistics. Only the registration process is on the computer. All the rest of the activities move through ordinary file movement.
3. This online registration is approved after receipt of report of the request being genuine from the field personnel.
4. Then the file is sent to the DD Agricultural Engineering Department to prepare the estimate.
5. Once the estimate is received, the District Sanctioning Committee consisting of DDH, DD Agriculture and DD Agricultural Engineering have to sit in a meeting to make the approvals for a bunch of applications.
6. After sanctioning of the scheme, a work order is give to the MI Company for installation of pipes and systems.
7. Once the installation is completed, again a set of inspections has to be done by the Horticultural Officer ( 100%), then super checked by the ADH ( 50%) and by the
DDH (25%) randomly.
8. After their inspection the file is sent to the DMIC (District Micro Irrigation Committee) headed by the District Collector, which is supposed to meet once every
9. Many a time, the Collector is not sure about the authenticity of the installations in the wake of petitions, and hence he tries to do a 100% inspection through his
revenue team, which may take many months together. The same is true of the
Commissioner and the Head office.
My innovation - The "To-be" process: It is to change the above state of affairs that I am suggesting an innovative system. The suggested system involves Government Process Reengineering (GPR), an end to end web enabled software
development from application stage to approval of online subsidy release by the DMIC ( with a mobile version) and remote monitoring of MI systems using mobile geo-fencing technology.
An end to end software will be developed that covers the process right from the application stage to the approval and release of subsidies through net banking. At no
stage is paper movement anticipated in this system. The software is developed using open source applications, reducing the cost considerably. The web based application
software is to be hosted at the State Data Centre. The application can be accessed on the computer or the mobile phones which are GPRS compliant. A 12 digit registration number is issued via SMS to the farmer as an acknowledgement of
receipt of completed application forms. All documents necessary are scanned and entered into the software. The application can also be registered at the Government approved Common Service Centre, or if the farmer is net savvy, he can do it from
the confines of his home. The GPR has ensured that many steps have been pruned. For example, the new system does away with the system of getting a small and
marginal farmer certificate issued by the Tahsildar, which is time-consuming and involves transaction costs for the poor farmer. Now the Chitta (comprehensive land
document) issued online by the Taluk office under the Land Records Computerization is enough to prove that a farmer is a small, marginal or big farmer.
1. All levels of officers and staff involved in the file movement are to be issued with User IDs and Passwords.
2. Once the application is registered, the file moves to the DDH sends it to the field personnel, and on receipt of their report online, passes it on to the DD Agricultural
Engineering, who has to prepare estimates and pass it on back to the DDH.
3. It is then approved by the DDA and DD AE. So there is no need for a meeting now, unless there is a specific need that warrants a meeting.
4. Now the DDH issues the work order, which can be accessed by the MI Company agent, and the HO via the mobile application, and the farmer via SMS.
5. Once the work is completed, the same is updated on the mobile application by the MI company agent. The HO, ADH and DDH will do their inspections and update
the status via the mobile application or on the web based software.
6. The file is then moved online to the District Collector for approval. How can he enabled to approve the subsidy payments without delay? This is where mobile technology will be used to ensure remote arm chair inspections on a website
by the Collector, Commissioner of Horticulture and Plantation Crops, Secretary Agriculture, Hon'ble Agriculture Minister or indeed the general public. The DMIC can and approve the payment of subsides. This software is organically linked to the end to end MI software.
7. Once the DMIC approves, the file goes back online to the DDH, who now issues an online payment through net banking. Net banking software has to be procured through an open tender process, and their software has to be integrated with our end
to end software and a consortia of banks.
Mobile technology using geo-fencing for remote inspections
A mobile phone based software using GIS/GPS and geo fencing concepts has to be procured through an open tender process and this software has to have interoperability (which means standards are maintained) with the end to end MI
1. Every land of the farmer surveyed needs to be uniquely identified with its geo-references such GPS coordinates and geo-fencing.
2. When the location-aware device enters or exits a geo-fence, the device receives a generated notification.
3.The supervisory officers/Third party visit the field location and capture the photograph of the installations. The application will work only when the mobile phone
camera is within the geo-fenced field
4. The image/photograph that is captured is compressed by a data compression technology and is augmented with GPS coordinates, date and time stamping and also unique identification of the MI facility.
5. The stage wise image gallery of the construction must be available in the chronological order of its capturing in the form of image gallery of the water source, pipes, motor, lateral etc , before, during and after installation along with the officers,
MI company agent and farmer at all stages. Alternately this can be entrusted to a third party whose services are procured through a separate tender process.
6. The capture data are structured as business objects into an easily comprehensible dashboard with Business Intelligence software (BIS), which converts the data into
graphs and charts. This is visible to the entire world.
7.The captured information should be tagged to GIS map using Google map services and must be available on a website. A dedicated helpdesk with required manpower must operate for 24 x 7 x 365 days. The help desk operator shall be able to attend
the calls in Tamil and English. There should be a dedicated Change Management Team also in place for some time, who will train and improve the capacity of
Horticulture Staff and Officers.
8. The entire system will be based on cloud computing as a Software as Service (SaS) model.
This system was inagurated by the Hon’ble Chief Minister on 15/10/2012. About 7000 locations had been mapped and captured online before the inauguration.