‘Jal Hi Jiwan’ Scheme in Haryana

Mains Paper 2 : Government Scheme/Policies |

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Jal Hi Jivan Scheme

Mains level : Groundwater management


News

  • Farmers in paddy-growing districts of Haryana have agreed to opt for maize and other alternatives after the state government offered major incentives for crop diversification.
  • This was done in an attempt to address the rapidly falling groundwater levels in the state.

 ‘Jal Hi Jiwan’ Scheme

  • The ‘Jal Hi Jiwan’ scheme envisages diversification of 50,000 hectare area of non-basmati rice mainly into maize, pulses or oilseeds to achieve the target.
  • Apart from seeds and financial assistance of Rs 5,000 per hectare, the farmer’s share of crop insurance will also be borne by the government.
  • After it emerged that the groundwater level has depleted in 76% area of the state, Haryana launched the pilot scheme.
  • The objective of the scheme is to replace paddy with maize in seven major paddy-growing districts: Ambala, Yamuna Nagar, Kurukshetra, Kaithal, Jind, Karnal and Sonipat.
  • According to the state Agriculture and Farmers Welfare Department, the farmers have formally registered for alternative plantations over 40,000 hectares of land.

Why substitute Paddy Cultivation?

  • Paddy is not suitable for Haryana because it puts tremendous stress on the groundwater due to its water-intensive nature.
  • According to agriculture department officials, 1 kg of rice requires 2,000-5,000 litres of water, depending upon its variety, soil type and time of sowing.
  • With paddy production jumping, the number of tubewells in the state also shot up from a few thousand to 8 lakh, resulting in overdrawing of groundwater.
  • Experts also say that it has exhausted the soil health while the crops like arhar, pulses and oilseeds require minimum fertilizers.
  • If farmers opt for maize in place of rice, the water saved per hectare will be about 14 lakh litres per crop season.

Rise in dark zones

  • These are zones where the water table has fallen to a critical level, and the rate at which water is being drawn is much more than the pace at which it is being recharged.
  • In the last two decades, the farmers have pumped out much as 74% of the groundwater reservoirs.
  • If over-exploitation of the water continues, parts of Haryana will turn into a desert in the coming years.

First such scheme ever

  • Haryana is the first state to implement water-saving scheme involving sowing maize as an alternative crop.
Water Management – Institutional Reforms, Conservation Efforts, etc.
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