Archived Webinar

Digital Ag Series - AgTech Ecosystem in Telangana State, India - Accelerating Emerging Technologies for Disruption

"A Discussion on the comprehensive approach taken by the Telangana Government and on the budding AgriTech startup ecosystem in the state."

Agriculture is a priority sector for Telangana State. An estimated 5 million farmers with an average landholding size of 2.77 acres (1.12 hectares) cultivate 40.53% of the State’s geography i.e.15 lakh acres (46.54 lakh hectares). The contribution of the agriculture sector to the State’s GSDP was 14.6% in 2018-19 and it grew at an impressive rate of 20.9% in 2020-21. The state government envisions Telangana as a prototype state to bring a digital revolution in India’s Agri-sector. Expected outcomes of all of the state’s Agritech projects are -

  1. Increased farm productivity
  2. Resource sustainability
  3. Farmer tech and financial inclusivity, and
  4. Increased efficiency of government subsidies and schemes.

The State leadership envisions digital transformation in the agriculture sector to ultimately improve farmers’ income. It recognizes that emerging technologies such as Artificial Intelligence, Blockchain, Remote Sensing, Drones, etc. can make a significant contribution to the growth of the sector. Emerging technologies would add value to three crucial stakeholder groups – farmers, governance institutions, and market players while creating macro-level impact at the startup and agriculture ecosystem level. The flagship AgriTech project of the state, namely Saagu Baagu (translates to Agriculture Advancement) has a vision ‘To transform the state of agriculture by deploying emerging technologies in a scalable, inclusive and sustainable way.’ 

This discussion focuses on both the comprehensive approach taken by the Telangana Government: Concept Validation, Adoption, and Driving Growth; and on the budding AgriTech startup ecosystem in the state. The Prl. Secretary (Head), ITE&C Dept. of GoTS, focuses on the overall AgriTech approach being adopted by the state. The Secretary (Head), Agriculture Dept. of GoTS, focuses on select marquee projects in AgriTech and how the state’s machinery is being used to facilitate the growth and deployment of technology solutions. The Vice-Chancellor (Head), State’s Agriculture University (PJTSAU), focuses on how academia is venturing into new-age technologies and is transferring the domain knowledge to build world-class products and services. Finally, the Director of Emerging Technologies, ITE&C Dept. of GoTS, shall focus on Telangana’s approach to building an Agriculture Data Exchange (ADEx) to unlock AI innovation by making government data available.

Subsequently, select start-ups shall discuss the innovation brewing in the state of Telangana. Thanos Technologies seeks to transform agriculture spraying with the use of drones. Nebulaa Innovations seeks to standardize the quality assaying of agriculture production with the use of Artificial Intelligence. Kalgudi seeks to establish technology-driven market linkages to ensure farmers receive a better price for their agricultural produce. Krishitantra has developed a portable solution for the rapid testing of soil nutrients.

About the Presenters

Parmesh Shah

Global Lead, Data-Driven Digital Agriculture, Agriculture and Food Global Practice, The World Bank

Parmesh Shah is the Global Lead for Data-Driven Digital Agriculture at the World Bank. He provides leadership to the Bank’s work in these areas and supports the development of global knowledge and learning in these areas to offer solutions to clients and other development partners. His current areas of interest are making markets and public services work for the poor, social entrepreneurship, digital and data-based innovations in agriculture and rural development, climate-smart agriculture, agriculture and technology-enabled start-ups, venture and patient capital for innovation, promotion of on-farm, off-farm, and digital jobs and public-private and people partnerships for rural poverty reduction. He is currently involved in developing a global program on scaling up data-driven digital agriculture involving data platforms and establishing ecosystems for innovation, entrepreneurship and incubation. He holds a D Phil in Development Studies from the Institute of Development Studies at the University of Sussex,  an MBA from the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad, and a B Tech degree in Agricultural Engineering from Pantnagar in India. 

Sri. Jayesh Ranjan

Principal Secretary, ITE&C and I&C Department, Government of Telangana

Sri. Jayesh Ranjan, IAS is a member of the Indian Administrative Service (IAS) of the 1992 batch and is currently working in the state of Telangana. He holds a Master’s degree in Psychology from Delhi University, a degree in Business Management from the Indian Institute of Management, Calcutta, and a Master’s in Public Management from Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, National University of Singapore. He has also done short courses at the University of Birmingham (on Environmental Policy Analysis), JICA training Institute, Tokyo (on lake remediation), London School of Economics (on Globalization and Leadership), Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University (in Public Policy), and Swedish Institute, Stockholm (on Sustainability and CSR). He is the All-India topper of his IAS batch of 1992. He was awarded World Bank’s Social Capital Visiting Scholarship in 2002 and the British Government’s Gurukul Chevening Scholarship in 2005. He has done international consultancy assignments for the World Bank, UN-ESCAP, Sedatu project of Mexico, and for international NGOs working for Youth Issues like YES, Inc of the USA and NMC from Italy. He is a part of the National Pool of Trainers in Leadership constituted by the Government of India and is involved in training and mentoring newly recruited Civil Servants. Jayesh Ranjan is the Principal Secretary of the Industries & Commerce (I&C) and Information Technology (IT) Departments of the Telangana government. His assignment involves developing policy frameworks, attracting new investments, identifying opportunities of utilizing IT in various government processes, and promoting digital empowerment of the citizens. His last few assignments have been in the Industrial Promotion sector as Commissioner and as an MD of the Industries Department, Secretary in the Tourism Promotion Department, and Vice-Chairman of the Hyderabad Urban Development Authority (HUDA), all for 2-3 years each, and various rural assignments in different parts of the state for over 12 years, working in diverse sectors like Tribal Development, Natural Resources Management, Poverty Alleviation, and other related Social Development Sectors.

Sri. M Raghunandan Rao

Secretary, Agriculture Department, Government of Telangana

Sri. M Raghunandan Rao, IAS is a 2002 batch IAS officer of the Telangana Cadre. He is presently serving as both the Secretary of Agriculture and Cooperation Department and the Commissioners of Agriculture. Prior to this, he served as the Commissioner for Panchayat Raj and Rural Development Dept. and has also served as the collector of various districts such as Hyderabad, Ranga Reddy, Krishna, etc.

Dr. V. Praveen Rao

Vice Chancellor, Professor Jayashankar Telangana State Agricultural University (PJTSAU)

Prof. Praveen Rao Velchala is the founding Vice Chancellor of Professor Jayashankar Telangana State Agricultural University (PJTSAU), Hyderabad, Telangana. Prof. Rao has provided exemplary leadership in taking the University to new heights, finding a place among the top ten Agricultural Universities of India. Under his able stewardship, PJTSAU received the “Institute of Excellence Award in 2019” and the “Best Agri University Award 2021”. The Research & Extension Centers received 13 Best Performance Awards at the national level. Under Prof. Rao’s dynamic supervision, University developed and released 45 high-yielding varieties & hybrids in major food and industrial crops, established agri-value addition centers in rural areas, and an AgHub innovation center at Hyderabad for the benefit of students, entrepreneurs, farmers, and unemployed youth. Initiatives by Prof. Rao in forging collaborations and partnerships with reputed international institutions such as IRRI, Cornell University, Western Sydney University, University of Florida, University of Hohenheim, etc., helped students and faculty in gaining international exposure, getting published in high impact journals,  writing Grant Proposals, etc. Currently, he is guiding the implementation of projects at PJTSAU on emerging technologies in collaboration with Agri-StartUps working with drip irrigation and fertigation in agri-horticultural crops, to enhance crop input use efficiency, productivity, profitability, and sustainability of large and small-scale production systems. Prof. Rao has co-authored over 380 publications. Prof. Rao received several national/international awards and recognitions, including the most prestigious Swaminathan Award 2019-20,  and the Academic Leadership Award 2021. Other awards conferred on him are - the Best Leader with a Strategic Vision Award (2019), Best Vice Chancellor Award (2018), Education Leadership Award (2018), Lifetime Achievement Award from the Vice President of India (2018), Life Time Achievement Award from Soil Conservation Society of India (2018) for the implementation of world’s largest micro-irrigation in smallholder fields. Prof. Rao is currently elected President of the Prestigious Indian Society of Agronomy (2020 – 2022).

Smt. L Rama Devi

OSD and Director of Emerging Technologies, ITE&C Department, Government of Telangana

Smt. L Rama Devi is a civil engineer with an MTech in Environmental Engineering and did the Executive Program in Business Management from IIM Calcutta. She initially worked in the civil engineering domain but later moved into Tech and worked in Silicon Valley in the US with several start-up companies in cutting-edge technologies. After coming back to India she worked with the Centre for Good Governance (CGG) - an organization set up by the Government of Andhra Pradesh (GoAP) in collaboration with the Department for International Development (DFID) and the World Bank to Transform Governance and was involved in several State level IT initiatives that helped the government in implementing various schemes benefitting the targeted beneficiaries. Later, she moved to National Institute for Smart Government (NISG) and was involved in the conceptualization and design of a number of e-Governance projects that were crucial in bringing in reforms and transformation in various domains such as Health, Visa-Immigration, Civil Aviation, Atomic Energy, Education, and Urban Local Bodies. She was involved in the implementation strategy of the Meghraj policy of cloud for the Government of India. She developed a strategy, toolkit, and procurement guidelines to enable cloud adoption by the Government Departments at States/Center. Currently, she is working as Director, Emerging Technologies & Officer on Special Duty, at the Information Technology Electronics and Communications Department (ITE&C), Govt of Telangana. Her role is to develop and implement a strategy for the State that would create a conducive ecosystem for the growth of emerging technologies and help the State in leveraging emerging technologies for better governance.

Pradeep Palelli

Co-Founder & CEO, Thanos Technologies

Pradeep Palelli is the Co-Founder & CEO at THANOS. Pradeep received his B.E.(Hons) in Electronics & Instrumentation from BITS-Pilani in 2008. After a brief stint at Infosys, he delved into the world of startups in 2011 with his first role as Managing Partner in a Carbon Management/Renewable Energy Consulting company called Efficient Carbon. THANOS is his third startup and he manages Business & Operations at THANOS. Founded in 2016, THANOS is Telangana's first Drone Manufacturing & Services company with a core focus on Agricultural Spraying.

Tanmay Sethi

Co-Founder, Nebulaa Innovations

Tanmay Sethi is the Co-Founder of Nebulaa. He has completed his Bachelor’s in Mechanical Engineering from IIT Jodhpur. After graduating in 2014 he has worked in multiple industries ranging from Utility to Energy Conservation to 3D Printers. He along with 2 other batchmates of IIT Jodhpur started Nebulaa in 2016. Nebulaa works to provide machine learning solutions for agricultural produce quality diagnostics. He takes care of Business Development and Product Strategy at Nebulaa.

Raj Vallabhaneni

CEO, Vasudhaika Software, Vasudhaika Software (Kalgudi)

Raj Vallabhaneni is a serial entrepreneur who is passionate about digital transformation at the grassroots. His early steps towards this include a noteworthy contribution - iAgriMarC, an Agri produce marketing automation platform implemented across a few states in India. This enabled farmers to realize better prices for their produce compared to other states. His current focus is on Kalgudi.com, a deep tech digital convergence platform for agriculture & rural livelihoods. Kalgudi connects all the stakeholders, makes sure everyone is informed well, and enables intelligent input, output & consumer marketplaces for them. Raj's foundation in technology has been through his work at technology giants like Honeywell, Microsoft & Google. He also co-founded a content engineering services company called ROFOUS and led it to a successful exit. He is an avid traveler, a knowledge seeker, and a stickler for all things traditional and rural.

Sandeep Kondaji

Founder and CEO, Klonec Automation (Krishitantra)

An astute businessman and serial entrepreneur with 10+ years of experience, Sandeep Kondaji specialized in instrumentation engineering under the penumbra of Visvesvaraya Technological University. He kicked off his career in the Middle East, where he began his entrepreneurial journey in telematics. His interest in sustainable energy and consulting experience on green buildings prompted him to devote his knowledge and efforts towards solving global challenges in agriculture. Taking pride in his lineage of agrarians and armed with a strong technical background, his aspirations were duty-bound towards working out a fix for the adversity of farmer woes. Sandeep hobnobbed with two of his associates and found “Krishitantra”- a start-up with the intention of bringing happiness to the farmers.

Vijayasekar Kalavakonda

Senior Operations Officer, International Finance Corporation, The World Bank Group

Vijay Kalavakonda has more than 20 years of experience working on Access to Finance primarily focused on agriculture finance and insurance, and disaster risk finance and insurance. At the World Bank Group, Vijay worked on a range of access to finance-related activities including insurance and the Co-Contributory Pension Program for Low Income Households. Vijay Kalavakonda has worked on agriculture and disaster risk insurance across several countries including Tunisia and Morocco, Nicaragua, Mexico, Turkey, Indonesia, the Philippines, Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka, and Small Islands including both the Caribbean and the Pacific. Over the last 3+ years, Vijay’s primary focus area has been in supporting agriculture finance, and financial risk resilience against climate change risks in South Asia.

Questions Submitted

Ki

- Mar 22, 2022
good

Mohammad Nadir

- Mar 6, 2022
Excellent!
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