Must know concept for NABARD Grade A 2022 Exam: Soil Health Card Scheme

By Jyoti Bisht|Updated : July 12th, 2022

NABARD Grade A exam has one technical part i.e. Agriculture and Rural Development which may possess problems for those who are not from the same background so we are trying to help you by covering these technical terms one out of them is below. So, let's start reading all about Soil Health Management and Soil Health Card Scheme.

What is a Soil Health Card?

The Department of Agriculture and Co-operation and the Ministry of Agriculture are both responsible for promoting the Soil Health Card (SHC) program. This program is put in place by the Department of Agriculture in each State and UT. This program was started by the government to inform farmers about the nutritional condition of their soil.

SHC is a printed report that a farmer will be handed over for each of his holdings. It will contain the status of his soil with respect to 12 parameters, namely N, P, K (Macro-nutrients); S (Secondary- nutrient); Zn, Fe, Cu, Mn, Bo (Micronutrients); and pH, EC, OC (Physical parameters). Based on this, the SHC will also indicate fertilizer recommendations and soil amendments required for the farm.

Soil Health Card Scheme

National Mission for Sustainable Agriculture(NMSA) was implemented during the 12th Plan with the objectives to make agriculture more productive, sustainable, and climate-resilient, conserve natural resources, adopt comprehensive soil health management practices, and optimize the utilization of water resources, etc.


  • “Soil Health Management (SHM) is one of the most important interventions under NMSA.
  • SHM aims at promoting Integrated Nutrient Management (INM) through judicious use of chemical fertilizers including secondary and micronutrients in conjunction with organic manures and bio-fertilizers for improving soil health and its productivity; strengthening soil and fertilizer testing facilities to provide soil test-based recommendations to farmers for improving soil fertility; ensuring quality control requirements of fertilizers, bio-fertilizers and organic fertilizers under Fertilizer Control Order, 1985; up-gradation of skill and knowledge of soil testing laboratory staff, extension staff and farmers through training and demonstrations; promoting organic farming practices, etc.

Key Highlights of Soil Health Card Scheme

Since 2015, the program has organized or executed 7425 farmers' melas, 36928 farmer training, and over 6.04 lakh demos. Farmers are being educated on proper fertilizer use by village-level rural development professionals like Krishi Sakhis and Pasu Sakhis in addition to state/district agriculture machinery and panchayats.      

  • Launched in Feb 2015 
  • Tenure - 3 years 
  • Budget - Rs. 568 crore
  • For a balanced use of fertilizers, the government is also pushing tailored and fortified fertilizers and launching the Nutrient Based Subsidy (NBS) program.
  • 21 fertilizers have so far been introduced under the NBS program.
  • Currently, 25 reinforced and 35 tailored fertilizers have been approved by the government for use.
  • During 2019–20, a pilot project called "Development of Model Villages" was launched, replacing sample collection at grids with individual farm holdings and farmer participation.
  • For the purposes of holding based soil testing and organizing more demonstrations, up to a maximum of 50 demonstrations (1 acre each), one village each block is adopted under the pilot project.     

byjusexamprepKnow Testing of Soil Samples

The soil testing laboratory receives the soil sample for analysis. A facility for analyzing soil samples to determine the 12 parameters of soil nutrients is a soil testing laboratory. This soil testing station may be moveable in distant places or static in urban areas. The following 12 parameters are assessed on the soil samples in accordance with the established standards:

  • At the Department of Agriculture's and their staff's soil testing labs.
  • At the Department of Agriculture-owned but externally managed soil testing facilities.
  • At the soil testing facilities run by the contracted company's personnel.
  • At the Krishi Vigyan Kendras (KVKs) and State Agricultural Universities of the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) (SAUs).

About Soil Health Card Scheme

A Soil Health Card is used to assess the current status of soil health and used over time, to determine changes in soil health that are affected by land management.

  • A Soil Health Card displays soil health indicators and associated descriptive terms. The indicators are typically based on farmers' practical experience and knowledge of local natural resources.
  • The card lists soil health indicators that can be assessed without the aid of technical or laboratory equipment.
  • SHC is a Government of India scheme promoted by the Department of Agriculture & Co-operation under the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers' Welfare.
  • It is being implemented through the Department of Agriculture in all the State and Union Territory.
  • Soil Health Card Scheme is a very beneficial scheme for farmers. There are many farmers in India. And they do not know which types of crops they should grow to get maximum yield. Basically, they do not know the quality and the type of their soil.
  • They might know by experience what crops grow and what crops fail. But they don't know what they can do to improve the condition of the soil.

Key Features of the Soil Health Card Scheme

The government is planning to cover as many as all farmers under the scheme. The scheme will cover all the parts of the country.

In the form of the soil card, the farmers will get a report and this report will contain all the details about the soil of their particular farm. A farm will get the soil card once every 3 years.

Soil Health Card Scheme Progress

A step-by-step process for leading farmers in identifying soil health indicators and developing a Soil Health Card. The outcomes of facilitated farmer meetings include a user-friendly, do-it-yourself tool to assess soil health as well as mutually beneficial dialogue among farmers and technical specialists. 

How can a farmer use an SHC?

The card will contain an advisory based on the soil nutrient status of a farmer's holding. It will show recommendations on the dosage of different nutrients needed. Further, it will advise the farmer on the fertilizers and their quantities he should apply, and also the soil amendments that he should undertake, so as to realize optimal yields.

Benefits of the Soil Health Card Scheme

The scheme will monitor the soil of the farmers well and will give them a formatted report. So, they can decide well which crops they should cultivate and which ones they should skip.

  • The authorities will monitor the soil on a regular basis. One in every 3 years, they will provide a report to farmers. So, farmers need not worry if the nature of the soil changes due to certain factors. Also, they will always have updated data about their soil.
  • The work of the government does not stop at listing down measures required to improve the quality of the soil. In fact, they will also employ experts to help farmers in carrying out the corrective measures.
  • Farmers will get a proper soil health record.
  • They can study the soil management practices which will help them to plan the future of their crops and land.
  • Generally, in government schemes, the person carrying out the study for a particular farmer gets changed. But the government is paying attention that the same person carries out the soil analysis for a farmer. This will further enhance the effectiveness of the scheme.
  • The soil card will give the farmers a proper idea of which nutrients their soil is lacking. And hence, which crops they should invest in. they will also tell which fertilizers they need. So, ultimately, the crop yield will see a rise.
  • The main aim of the scheme was to find out the type of particular soil. And then provide ways in which we can improve it. Even if the soil has some limitations, we can do something to get the most out of it. And that is what the government is trying to do with the help of this scheme.

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  • Our experts have compiled a comprehensive note on Soil Health Card Scheme in this article to help your prepare for the upcoming NABARD Grade A exam. You can go through the complete article here and prepare for your exam.

  • Soil Health Card Scheme is an important General Awareness chapter under the NABARD Grade A exam ARD(Agriculture & Rural Development) syllabus. You can highly expect questions from there in the upcoming NABARD Grade A exam 2022.

  • On February 19, 2015, the Indian government unveiled the Soil Health Card Scheme. According to the plan, the government will provide farmers with soil cards that contain crop-specific recommendations for the nutrients and fertilizers needed for their particular farms. This will enable farmers to increase productivity through the careful use of inputs.

  • The program's goal is to encourage farmers to utilize fertilizers in a balanced manner and based on soil tests so they can achieve higher yields at a lesser cost. Additionally, the primary goal is to inform farmers about the proper nutrient requirements for each crop based on soil conditions.

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