Prime Minister Narendra Modi today said that expansion of irrigation has to be linked with a comprehensive evaluation of cropping patterns across states, as well as a judicious mix of modern and micro irrigation systems such as drip and sprinkler irrigation.
He called for quick adoption of a multi-pronged strategy to augment the country’s irrigation network. Chairing a high-level meeting comprising top officials from the Ministries of Agriculture, Water Resources, Rural Development, and Finance, besides the NITI Aayog and the PMO, the Prime Minister asked for a relook at the administrative mechanisms, financial arrangements and technology applications in the irrigation sector, to result in a shorter, more comprehensive decision-making process, which could deliver quick results for the farmers.
Reviewing the preparations for the PMKSY, the Prime Minister said that a thorough study should be made of various traditional irrigation methods across the country. He said that young researchers from Universities should be involved in irrigation-policy planning. The Prime Minister said irrigation plans need to be worked out at the district level, and young officers from the civil services should be asked to propose district-level irrigation plans.
Exhorting officials to treat the challenge of below-normal rainfall as an opportunity, the Prime Minister called for an intensive short-term effort to boost the creation of farm ponds across the country. He noted that falling ground-water levels in some states made it essential to bring about an urgent shift in cropping-patterns. He called for focus on maize, and initiatives in value-addition in maize, to make it more attractive for farmers.
The PMKSY has been operationalised with the vision to ensure access to water to every agricultural farm for minimizing the impact of vagaries of monsoon. The government has allocated Rs.4300 crore for 2015-16 across these three ministries- Agriculture, Rural Development and Water Resources in the budget announcement for implementation of PMKSY throughout the country. Moreover, Rs.1000 crore for Accelerated Irrigation Benefit Programme (AIBP) has been allocated in the in the budget.
Minister for Water Resources Uma Bharati, Union Minister for Rural Development Chaudhary Birender Singh, and Minister of State for Agriculture Sanjeev Balyan were present at the meeting.