Farmer Suicides - Challenges in irrigation & Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana (PMKSY)

Farmer Suicides - Challenges in irrigation & Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana(PMKSY)

Question - Farmer suicides are a reality in India where infrastructure and financing for agriculture is inadequate. Discuss the major challenges in irrigation in the agricultural sector and the Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana (PMKSY) for removing obstacles.

The irrigation sector in India faces many challenges from within and outside the sector. Problems include sectoral issues and resolution of these will influence agricultural sustainability as well as economic growth and development

Challenges for the Irrigation Sector In India’s Agricultural System

• Weak physical, financial as well as institutional foundation on which the irrigation sector is operating. Sector will not be able to deliver production, income and other benefits at the current level

• Surface irrigation systems are not strong enough to counter ecological obstacles

• Lack of well managed, planned and optimal resources are another problem

• Main issue is the development of policy instruments which can create PPP mode of irrigation systems to bolster agricultural practices

• Groundwater reserves are severely strained and lack of subsidised power has further dented it

• Apart from falling groundwater levels, there is also a problem of chemical quality

• Capital intensive technology to elite farmers has created informal water markets and this has destroyed the Indian irrigation system
• Another challenge is the limitations on physical expansion of irrigation specifically in the major river basins fast reaching complete potential

• Use of water through other sectors is also a problem as the share of irrigation in total water use will fall to 73% from 83% on account of increase in non irrigation sectors by as much as 4 times

• There are also fiscal constraints to expansion.

• Under utilisation of water resources is another obstacle for the Indian irrigation system

• Gaps in water distribution and management are yet another challenge as is lack of organic linkages between water delivery mechanism and agricultural inputs, extension and credit services

Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana (PMKSY): - Features

• Central government’s INR 1,000 crore irrigation scheme is oriented towards ensuring irrigation water reaches every village through convergence of ongoing schemes through numerous ministries

• This Yojana necessitates the use of the dynamic annual fund allocation methodology; this holds that states should allot more funds to irrigation sectors for eligibility in accessing funds under the scheme

• Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana (PMKSY) aims at connecting irrigation systems in 3 critical components namely water sources, distribution network and field applications for optimal use

• Through this scheme, assured irrigation is provided to mitigate risks to farmers as bulk farm lands depend on rain for irrigation

• Sum of INR 1,000 crore has been set aside for this purpose

• Government will also provide a Soil Health Card for farmers to assess production capability of the soil and its value for numerous crops

• At the macro level, detailed mapping and identification of water bodies is being carried out for a river interlinking project

• Satellite imagery and 3D photography will also be provided for farmers to access best irrigation sources

• Rivers will also be interlinked to prevent floods and droughts

• Krishi Vigyan Kendras/agriculture science centres will be established in the districts of the nation to help the farmers

Facts and Stats

• PMKSY has assumed importance because 65% of the total 142 million hectares of farm land are not covered as part of irrigation

• This scheme focuses on end to end solution in the irrigation supply change through implementation of fresh programs in project mode and decentralised state level execution and planning

• PMKSY projects are to be scrutinised by the State Level Project Screening Committee/SLPSC sanctioned by the State Level Sanctioning Committee, under the aegis of the Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana.

• State agricultural department is to be the nodal agency for implementation of the scheme and the latter will be periodically reviewed by the inter-ministerial National Steering Committee (NSC)

• State can access PMKSY funds if they have planned district and state irrigation plans and attained increasing expenditure trend in irrigation sector as part of the state plan

• Funds of the PMKSY will be given only if the state has planned district and irrigation systems and allocated expenditure in the irrigation sector in the state plan

• PMKSY funds will be provided as 75% of the grant by central and 25% by state government in all states except northeast and hilly regions where funding pattern would be 90:10

• Currently, only 45% of the present area is irrigated

• Productivity of rain-fed areas is marginalised at 1.1 tons per hectare while irrigated land is 4 tons- this can make farming a very viable activity in the economic scene
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