ATMA Scheme:
  • The government has taken various steps to educate/train farmers across the country to learn about the latest machinery and technology so as to improve the quality of crops and increase yield and income by adopting the latest farming technology.
  • It is a Centrally-Sponsored Scheme is being implemented, that is, " Support to State Extension Programs for Extension Reforms", popularly called ATMA Scheme.
  • ATMA stands for Agricultural Technology Management Agency.
  • It is being implemented in 691 districts in 28 states and 5 UTs in the country.
  • This scheme promotes a decentralized farmer-friendly extension system in the country.
  • Under the scheme, grants were issued to the State Government to support the state Government’s efforts to provide farmers with the latest agricultural technology and good agricultural practices in different agricultural thematic areas and related fields.
  • Agricultural Technology Management Agency (ATMA) scheme is benefitting the majority of farmers in overcoming the technological gaps in the industry. 
  • The scheme aims at centralising the management of agricultural technology transfer by making organisational arrangements and deploying innovative technologies. 
  • ATMA acts a registered society in the respective States and encourages the farmers, farmer groups, Panchayat Raj Institutes, NGOs, Krishi Vigyan Kendras (KVKs) and other stakeholders at the district and village levels to be a part of this farmer-centred extension system. 
  • It offers technical advice and training on new practices and technologies to the farmers.
Objectives of ATMA:
  • The ATMA aims at accomplishing the following objectives:
  • Establishing new, structured and centralised institutions at the state, district and village level.
  • Strengthening the already existing extension system with innovative and effective operational procedures.
  • Simplifying and de-centralising the decision-making to the district and block levels.
  • Accelerating towards the viability of the extension services.
  • Encouraging the farmers to take part in the programme planning, coordination and resource sharing and grow their responsibility.
  • Strengthening the linkages between the key line Government departments, research organisations and the stakeholders.
  • Offering a structural mechanism for the coordination and supervision of upgradation activities of several institutions involved in technology modification and distribution at the district and village levels.
  • Enhancing the quality and sort of technology that is distributed.
  • Building partnership with the third party institutions such as NGOs, Panchayat Raj Institutions etc.
  • Implementing the farming system innovations and farmer organisation to overcome the technological differences and improper management of natural resources.
  • Tackling the issue of gender concerns by collecting and clustering women farmers into groups and offer them with the advanced training.
  • The availability of technical advice to farmers on new practices and technologies under ATMA has led to higher/rational use of new practices and technologies.
  • ATMA provides an institutional mechanism for coordination and management of Agricultural Extension System in the district.
Activities of the ATMA:
  • ATMA was initially implemented in seven states – Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Himachal Pradesh, Orissa, Punjab, Jharkhand and Maharashtra. Subsequent to its successful outcome, the scheme is now being implemented in 676 districts of 29 States & 3 Union Territories in the country. 
  • It executes the following activities in accomplishing its objectives in benefitting the farmers.
Allocation of Funds:
  • The Central Government allocates 90% of the fund, as a grant-in-aid, to all the States/UTs and the State Governments allocate 10% of the fund. The 10% share from the State Government is input from the cash contribution of the state or the contribution from other beneficiaries and non-government organisations.
  • A total amount of Rs.226.07 Crores are sanctioned under the scheme. 
  • The funds are allocated and shared between the Centre, State and District on an agreed ratio.
Implementation Guidelines:
  • The scheme is implemented through inter-institutional procedures, and they are as follows:
State Level:
  • The State Level Sanctioning Committee (SLSC) established under the Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana (RKVY) is the supreme authority to evaluate and sanction the State Extension Work Plan (SEWP).
  • Approve and supervise the implementation of these work plans by setting up the following committees:
  • Inter-Departmental Working Group (IDWG)
  • SAMETI Executive Committee
  • State Farmers Advisory Committee (SFAC)
District Level:
  • A District Farmers Advisory Committee (DFAC) is constituted at the district levels to provide feedback to the farmers for the district level planning and implementation of ATMA. 
  • The responsibilities of the committee include:
  • Managing the overall activities of the agricultural extension system in the districts
  • Drafting Strategic Research and Extension Plan (SREP) and constituting the following committees to carry out the operational activities:
  • ATMA Governing Board
  • ATMA Management Committee
  • District Farmers Advisory Committee (DFAC)
Block Level:
  • The Block Farmers’ Advisory Committee (BFAC) is being formed at every block levels by clustering a group of selected farmers in every block to draft the Block Action Plan (BAP).
  • The Block Technology Team (BTT) is formed to provide required assistance in the execution and implementation of the plans in every Block ATMA cells. 
  • The BTT includes Agricultural Officers and other associated departments in the block.
Village Level:
  • The Farmer Friend (FF) is being formed at the village levels to serve as a bond between the farmers and the extension systems.
  • Entrepreneurs in the field of agriculture, Input dealers, staff in nongovernmental institutions and Diploma holders in Agricultural Extension Services for Input Dealers (DAESI) are clustered together to support the activities of the extension officials.
  • Commodity Interest Groups (CIGs), Farmer Interest Groups (FIGs) and Food Security Groups at the village levels act as a focal point in the dissemination of information & technology amidst its members.