Accelerating Productivity Through Irrigation Management

How Indian farms are related to monsoons?

1. Farms in India are mainly rainfed.

2. A good monsoon increases crop production which raises farmer’s income, boosts rural consumption and drives the economy.

3. A weak monsoon, on the other hand, raises farm prices, enhances rural migration and creates distress in the country.

Why better irrigation management is needed in India at present?

1. Since 1997 the annual rainfall has been lower than the long-term average.

2. Climate change is taking place at an increasing rate.

3. Increased temperatures and changes in rainfall pattern cause heat waves, droughts and flooding in many parts of India.

4. Indian monsoons are mostly uncertain in their arrival, duration and amount and the date of departure.

5. As per ISRO, about 68% of India is prone to droughts in varying degrees.

6. Thus, due to these changing scenarios, improvement in available water resources and their efficient use through irrigation management is needed for increasing agricultural growth.

Which are the steps taken by the Government to improve irrigation?

1. Accelerated Irrigation Benefit Program (AIBP):

     a) It was launched in 1996-97 to provide Central Loan Assistance (CLA) to expedite the completion of ongoing projects.

     b) It aims to provide benefits to the intended farmers.

     c) The program has now been included under the Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana (PMKSY).

2. Enhanced Use of Underground Pipe Line (UGPL) and Canal based Micro-Irrigation Systems: 

     Underground pipelines are faster to construct, avoid land wastage, raise water use efficiency and farm productivity.

3. Use of Improved irrigation techniques at the farm level:

      Laser Land leveling, cultivation on raised beds, improved irrigation management for rice crop (by raising the bund heights to capture all the rainwater and irrigation through ‘Alternate Wetting and Drying’) and using efficient irrigation channels/ pipes.

4. Large scale adoption of Micro-Irrigation systems:

     a) Micro-irrigation is an effective water saving technology.

     b) The technique has shown various benefits like – increase in yield, saving of water as compared to flood irrigation, better growth of crops, increase in fertilizer use efficiency, the best insurance against droughts, dry spells, etc.

What more steps can be taken for improving crop production?

1. Use of Solar Photovoltaic Pumps for irrigation and sale of excess electricity.

2. Adoption of improved crop varieties and cropping systems which have high water productivity.

3. Use of Soil Health Cards for precise and right application of the nutrients.

4. Registration under Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana for getting insurance against natural calamities (like floods, droughts, heat and cold waves).

5. Creating appropriate irrigation infrastructure.

6. Providing “Har Khet Ko Pani” (water to every farm) through funds and utilizing guidance available under Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana.