The increase in irrigation cover since 2017-18 was driven by six programmes and projects, according to data seen by HT. These are the Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchai Yojana (PMKSY) and the Accelerated Irrigation Benefit Programme (AIBP), under which ₹11,505 crore was released between 2017-18 and 2021-23; Har Khet Ko Paani-Surface Minor Irrigation ( ₹4,000 crore); PMKSY-groundwater projects ( ₹787 crore); special package for Maharashtra ( ₹1,988 crore); Rajasthan and Srihind feeder ( ₹300 crore) and Shahpur-Kandi project ( ₹298 crore). In Madhya Pradesh, 21 prioritised irrigation projects have been identified under PMKSY-AIBP. Out these, 17 projects have been completed, increasing the state’s irrigation cover by 16%.
Of the total irrigation-infrastructure expansion, micro irrigation facilities through sprinklers and drip systems were installed in 8 million hectares. Out of the total irrigated area in the country, 40% is currently watered through canal networks, while 60% through groundwater, which in several states has plunged to severely depleted levels, the data show.
“There’s much more to do. The total potential for micro-irrigation in the country is estimated to be 60 million hectares. Conventional surface irrigation provides only 60% efficiency but drip irrigation has nearly 90% efficiency,” said SK Jayashankar, an expert with the Watershed India Trust.
The country can create irrigation potential in about 60% of its arable land and 40% of the cultivable area will remain dependent on rains because it is not possible to create irrigation networks in certain regions due to hydrological and geographical reasons, according to a document of the Jal Shakti ministry.
Source- Hindustan Times.