Goodhart’s Law is expressed simply as: “When a measure becomes a target, it ceases to be a good measure.” In other words, when we set one specific goal, people will tend to optimize for that objective regardless of the consequences.
This leads to problems when we neglect other equally important aspects of a situation.
For Production Analysis of Indian Agriculture- Four forecasts are issued, the first in the middle of September, the second in January, the third towards the end of March and the fourth by the end of May. Final estimates of crop production based on the area through complete enumeration and yield rate through crop-cutting experiments become available much after the crop is harvested.
These estimates are released at different points during the crop year and are based on the current status of the crop and other relevant factors.
|Advance Estimates of Production of Foodgrains for 2021-22 by Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare
|Prod. (in Mln. tonne)||Season||As on:
|Target||1st Adv. Est.||Target||2nd Adv. Est.||3rd Adv. Est.||4th Adv. Est.||Final Crop Size|
|Nutri/ Coarse Cereals||Kharif||37.31||34.00||37.31||35.39||35.64||35.91||36.13|
|Other Kharif Pulses||Kharif||0.80||0.94||0.80||0.76||0.62||0.62||0.67|
|Other Rabi Pulses||Rabi||2.99||1.77||1.74||1.71||1.66|
|* included in other Rabi Crop ; Estimates : Est. ; Advance : Adv.|
However, the Government needs advance estimates of production for various decisions relating to pricing, distribution, export, and import, etc. The Directorate of Economics & Statistics, Ministry of Agriculture (DESMOA) releases advance estimates of crop area and production through periodical forecasts in respect of principal food and non-food crops (food grains, oil seeds, sugarcane, fibers, etc.), which account for nearly 87 percent of agricultural output. (Source: MOSPI)
The present system of crop forecasts, being based mostly on subjective appraisal at various levels, does not reflect the ground situation correctly. This is especially the case with the preliminary forecasts which usually reflect government production bias – Benchmarks are drawn against the production Targets set by the government.
Govt Policy making must be done on robust and real-time data and these production estimates are revised 4 times a year- and most of the time work is focused on defending production or earlier target numbers.
There is a need for more objective forecasting based on timely and detailed information on crop conditions, meteorological parameters, water availability, crop damage, etc. The National Crop Forecasting Commission (NCFC) is still not in a position to develop a scientific procedure for forecasting using multi-dimensional models and assimilating the information received from various sources. Non-receipt of timely information from the States, and poor coordination between the Center and states lead to decision-making in the absence of a scientific and accurate decision-making matrix.