Out of about 141 million hectares of net area sown of the country, only an extent of 65 million hectares (46 per cent) is currently covered under irrigation. Substantial dependence on rainfall makes cultivation in remaining areas a high risk and less productive profession. Empirical evidences suggest, that assured/protective irrigation/in-situ moisture conservation encourages farmers to invest more in farming technology and inputs leading to productivity enhancement and increased farm income.
The Government of India is committed to accord high priority to water security. Government has conceived the Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana (PMKSY) with the objective of extending the coverage of irrigation in a focused manner, with end-to-end solution on source creation, distribution, management, field application and extension activities.In the budget speech 2014-15, a provision of Rs.1000 crore was announced to initiate the scheme and the Ministry of Water Resources was initially assigned the responsibility to launch the programme. Following a high level meeting with various stake holder departments on 14th November, 2014, the Deptt. of Agriculture and Cooperation was assigned the responsibility of ‘Nodal Department’ for implementation of PMKSY.
A budget line to achieve synergy of resources has been created in the Department of Agriculture & Cooperation, Ministry of Water Resources and Department of Land Resources, to implement PMKSY with effect from the year 2015-16. Further, an outlay of Rs. 5300 crores has been made for the current financial year, which includes Rs. 1800 crore for DAC (PMKSY- “Per Drop More Crop”); Rs. 1500 crore for DoLR (PMKSY- “Watershed Development”); and Rs. 2000 crore for MoWR (Rs. 1000 crore for AIBP & Rs. 1000 crores for PMKSY- “Har Khet Ko Pani”). Each of the three Departments/Ministries has a cut out mandate in the overall scheme of this new initiative.
The Department of Land Resources (DoLR) in the Ministry of Rural Development is to mainly undertake rain water conservation, construction of farm ponds, water harvesting structures, small check dams and contour bunding etc. under its Integrated Watershed Management Programme (IWMP). The Ministry of Water Resources (MoWR) is to undertake various measures for completion of ongoing projects under ‘Accelerated Irrigation Benefit Programme’ (AIBP), besides construction of diversion canals, field channels, water diversion/lift irrigation, including development of water distribution systems. The Department of Agriculture & Cooperation (DAC) will promote efficient water conveyance and precision water application devices like drips, sprinklers, pivots, rain-guns in the farm “(Jal Sinchan)”, construction of micro-irrigation structures to supplement source creation activities, extension activities for promotion of scientific moisture conservation and agronomic measures, including cropping alignment, to maximise use of available water including rainfall and minimise irrigation requirement “(Jal sanrakshan)”; capacity building, training for encouraging potential use water source through technological, agronomic and management practices including community irrigation, Information Communication Technology(ICT) interventions through NeGP-A for awareness campaign on water saving technologies, practices, programmes etc.,
A committee under the chairmanship of District Collector/ Dy. Commissioner/ District Magistrate with members from departments concerned, including District Forest Officer, Lead Bank Officer etc. at district level is empowered to finalise the District Irrigation Plan (DIP). While formulating the DIPs, suggestions of Members of Parliament and Members of Legislative Assembly of that area are to be invited and will be included after due technical consideration. Highest priority is to be given to valuable suggestions/recommendations of Member of Parliament of that particular district subject to technical/financial viability. State Irrigation Plan(SIP) will be the amalgamation of DIPs for operative convergence platform for all water sector activities, including drinking water & sanitation, application of science & technology etc. through comprehensive SIP.
With a view to ensuring effective planning, coordination amongst various departments, various committees viz. State Level Sanctioning Committee (SLSC) chaired by the Chief Secretary of the respective States, National Executive Committee (NEC) under the Chairmanship of Vice Chairman, NITI Aayog have been constituted. Further, the programme will be guided, supervised and monitored by an Inter-Ministerial National Steering Committee (NSC) under the Chairmanship of the Hon’ble Prime Minister with the Union Ministers concerned, as its members.
The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs chaired by the Prime Minister has accorded approval to PMKSY in its meeting held on 1st July, 2015. The scheme has been approved with an outlay of Rs. 50,000 crore for a period of 5 years (2015-16 to 2019-20). The draft Operational Guidelines of PMKSY have been uploaded on the website of DAC (www.agricoop.nic.in) and also circulated to the States for comments/suggestions.
A decision has been taken at the level of the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) to engage three junior most batches of IAS and IFS (Forest) for preparing District Irrigation Plans (DIP) on PMKSY. To this effect, a meeting was held with the heads of all training institutes of Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR), Ministry of Rural Development & Ministry of Water Resources to finalise the institutes and module of training. Following this, five institutes, namely, National Water Academy (NWA), Indian Institute of Water Management (IIWM), National Institute of Rural Development & Panchayati Raj (NIRD&PR), Indian Institute of Soil & Water Conservation (IISWC), ICAR Research Complex for NEH Region have been identified to conduct one-week training programme for States, and tentative schedule (24th August, 2015 to 9th October, 2015) was worked out. All the respective Departments, Department of Personnel & Training (DoPT), Ministry of Environment, Forest & Climate Change (MoEF) and State Governments have been requested to provide necessary cooperation toward this.
As seen thus, the newly launched scheme, unlike, many earlier irrigation related programmes is integrated and comprehensive in its approach. It aims at not just creating a water source but also in sustaining it. More importantly, it intends to use the scarce water resource efficiently by deploying multiple approaches. Water is a critical input for agriculture and given the competing demands for alternate uses of water, the efficiency of its use is well recognized in tailoring the scheme.
(Siraj Hussain is the Secretary, Department of Agriculture & Cooperation, Ministry of Agriculture)