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Government pushes past concerns on AgriStack to start issuing unique IDs for farmers

The Agriculture Ministry has started to piece together a database comprising crores of Indian farmers as launch day approaches.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare (MoAFW) has started 'internally' issuing 12-digit unique IDs to farmers as part of a database it is creating on all 140 million Indian farmers, according to an Indian Express report. The database includes 55 million farmers so far, Vivek Aggarwal, head of the Ministry’s Digital Agriculture Division, told Indian Express. The ministry plans to include 30 million more before a 'launch' in December, he added. At a virtual conference of chief ministers and state-level agricultural ministers last week, Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar reportedly said that the database will be made available to state and central agencies after 80 million farmers are added. This database is part of the agriculture ministry's AgriStack project under which each Indian farmer will be given a unique digital identity linked to their Aadhaar number. AgriStack is part of the larger IndiaStack project, to standardise digital systems across ministries and governments, which also comprises the National Digital Health Mission (NDHM), Unified Payments Interface (UPI), and so on. AgriStack has been criticised by farmers and civil society organisations saying that it was being pushed through without consultations, transparency, and could lead to exclusion of farmers, among other concerns. What has been connected? The farmers' database contains the following information as reported by the Indian Express: A database has been prepared for 11 states including Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, and Andhra Pradesh. Other states like Telangana, Kerala, and Punjab will be added in the next few months. Data…

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