Sandeep Kaushik

Crop insurance transformed the Remote Sensing industry with huge demand to understand the crop condition across the business clusters. – Sandeep Kaushik

Interview with Sandeep Kaushik

Sandeep Kaushik

Head Remote Sensing (Agriculture)
Gurgaon, Haryana, India

Q1. Please share your educational and professional journey with us?

  • Have more than 11 years of experience in the filed of Remote Sensing and applied it for Agriculture, Weather, Glaciers and LULC field majorly. Am heading Remote Sensing Department in Dehaat, one of the leading Ag-tech company in the industry currently and also have quite good experience with prominent players like Skymet Weather, FarmGuide, Weather Risk, India Meteorological Department before. Cumulative experience as of now around 11 years. My education background is geography with statistics and M.Tech (Geo-informatics from Guru Jambeshwar university Hisar)

Q2. Why Remote Sensing is necessary in the field of Agriculture now days and what are the benefits of this advance technology in terms of business?

  • Remote Sensing is the need of the hour for agriculture stakeholders whether they are Insurance, Agri-Input, Output, Finance/Banking, Farmer Services, Fruits & Vegetables to take their business decision specially in planning and management. Nowadays, Satellite data provide lot of granular information from crops sowing to harvesting management at farm level and help farmers to improve the management practices. There are a lot of application for each agriculture industry and they are utilizing it for their benefits.
    • Insurance Industry benefits
      • Crop acreage verification with respect to insurance policies
      • Crop loss mitigation through satellite-based analysis at IU level
      • Farmer advisory to reduce the produce losses.
      • Production estimation at more granular level.
      • Settling the claims on time through Satellite data
    • Agri-Input-Output Industry
      • Inventory management through satellite-based analysis like sowing window, crop acreage, Crop stages at block level, weather forecast
      • Consumption of pesticides, fertilizer at more
      • Qualitative procurement of produce from the farms
      • Chemical/Fertilizers optimum utilization over farms and DeHaat centers level
      • Farm level fruits and vegetable monitoring through continue satellite data availability.
    • Banking/Financing –
      • Farm level crop monitoring of farmers for lending purpose
      • Farm rating analysis to understand the productivity of farm
      • Helpful in decision making for loan monitoring

Q3. How we can check crop parameters like health, disease and many more with the help of Remote Sensing/GIS?

  • Yes, satellite data is much capable to provide the crop health status at different phenological stages of crops through the indices like NDVI, LSWI, LAI, SAVI, NDRE etc. Irrigation status and other factors like drought zones mapping help in business decision making for different stakeholders.
  • With the availability of continue satellite images, industry is also capitalizing the technology for disease forecasting and impact assessment with IoT and drone imaging at precise level.
  • All the output further mapped through GIS and create some impactful imaging at varous scales from State to farm level.

Q4. Please give a brief about Crop Insurance/Reinsurance and its importance?

  • Crop insurance scheme PMFBY was introduce back in 2015 which significantly transformed the Remote Sensing industry with huge demand to understand the crop condition across the business clusters. Remote Sensing technology (RST) plays a crucial role to understand the crop acreage, health, disaster, weather condition across the district to monitor the losses occurred during the season.
  • Historical dataset of crop statistics help the policy maker to indemnify the pricing while tendering for particular cluster and help Insurance/Reinsurance to strategically chooses for bidding or not.
  •  Reinsurance companies like Munich-Re, Swiss-Re provide a based to crop insurance industry to protect the insurance from major losses occurred due to different catastrophic reasons and help them to manage their portfolios.

Q5. Why Remote Sensing is helpful in weather analysis? How many key things we can predict with the help of Remote Sensing in weather domain?

  • Crop growth and yield basically depend upon the weather specially Rainfall, temperature and humidity parameters. India majorly have rainfed areas where crop sowing depends upon the adequate amount of rainfall and if there is any scarcity of rain then it because serious cause of drought. All the weather parameters are really important to measure the scenario as compared to last 40-50 years where climate change has drastic impact on crop pattern changes.
  • In the current scenario, many companies and IMD installed the Automatic Weather Stations across India which help to measure the real time monitoring and also play a crucial role in prediction of parameters. The concentration is still now at district/block level which likely to be increased at panchayat level in upcoming years.

Q6. What did attract you towards GIS/Remote Sensing Domain?

  • As a geographer, am really keen towards the earth curvature and natural resource management hence this attracted me a lot to use the technology for the monitoring the different segments of earth like glaciers, Landuse, Agriculture, Urban etc.

Q7. Which are the best online courses to get specialization in Agriculture Domain with advance technologies like Remote Sensing and GIS?

  • Current scenario is depicting about the use of RST at a larger scale and there are number of universities and institute offer such courses to student to build their career in the domain. E.g. IIRS, GJU Hisar, IIT Bombay, Amity University etc.

Q8. How do you see the scope of GIS, Remote Sensing and Geospatial Domain in upcoming years for students as a career?

  • As the industry is tending towards the automation and machine learning in the domain too, students can pursue their education in Remote Sensing with learning of Google Earth Engine, Python, R to build their career.

Q9. What are your Research Interests and how do you update yourself with the advance technologies?

      –      Am working in agriculture domain from last 8 year’s and I found this really interested application of Remote Sensing apart from Forestry and Glaciology. Usually, I got the update from internet and how we can use the latest technology to make it more reliable for the end users.

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