To enable quick soil sample testing and distribution of soil health cards, the Government of India has upgraded the soil test infrastructure it the country. It has sanctioned 9263 soil testing labs to States. In addition, 1562 village level soil testing projects have been sanctioned to generate employment for rural youth.
Soil Health Card (SHC) Scheme has been taken up for the first time in a comprehensive manner across the country. Under the scheme soil health cards are provided to all farmers so as to enable the farmers to apply appropriate recommended dosages of nutrients for crop production and improving soil health and its fertility.
The unique features of SHC scheme are collecting soil samples at a grid of 2.5 ha in irrigated area and 10 ha in un-irrigated areas. Uniform approach in soil testing adopted for 12 parameters viz. primary nutrients (NPK); secondary nutrient (S); micronutrients (B,Zn, Mn. Fe & Cu); and other (pH, EC & OC) for comprehensiveness. GPS enabled soil sampling to create a systematic database and allow monitoring of changes in the soil health over the years.
In the 1st cycle which was implemented in year 2015 to 2017, 2.53 crore soil samples were analysed and 10.73 crore soil health cards distributed to farmers. The 2nd cycle (2017-19) was started from 1st May, 2017 and against target of 2.73 crore soil samples, 1.98 crore samples tested and 6.73 crore cards have been distributed to farmers. The target is to cover 12.04 crore farmers.