Irrigation In India – PMKSY, AIBP, Watershed Management, Neeranchan, etc.

Everything you need to know about Neeranchal Project, a very important component of PM Krishi Sinchai Yojana.

Irrigation In India – PMKSY, AIBP, Watershed Management, Neeranchan, etc.

Private: MICRO-IRRIGATION FOR AGRICULTURAL GROWTH

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Micro-Irrigation

Mains level : Advantages of micro-irrigation

India is facing the twin challenge of water scarcity and population explosion. The ongoing water crisis has affected nearly 600 million people and is expected to only worsen: The country’s population is touted to increase to 1.6 billion by 2050.

The agriculture sector is the largest consumer of water in India. It accounts for approximately 90 per cent of 761,000 billion litres of annual freshwater withdrawals in the country. Per capita consumption of water in agriculture sector ranges from 4,913 to 5,800 kilolitre per capita per year.

This is where micro-irrigation assumes significance.

What is Micro-irrigation?

  • Micro-irrigation is considered as a prudent Irrigation technology promoted nationally and Internationally to achieve higher cropping Intensity and irrigation Intensity through more focused application of water to crops.
  • Different types of systems are drip irrigation, sprinkler Irrigation, micro-sprinkler, porous pipe system, rain gun etc., where drip irrigation and sprinkler irrigation dominate among all these systems.
  • The major crops cultivated under drip irrigation are sugarcane, banana, cotton, lemon, grapes, oranges, mangoes and wide variety of vegetables. Sprinkler irrigation is mainly used for groundnut, wheat, millet, sorghum, mustard etc.

Benefits of Micro Irrigation

  • Increase in water use efficiency: Micro irrigation helps in significant reduction of water conveyance losses, runoff, evaporation losses, and seepage & deep  percolation losses. This ensures higher water use efficiency up to 50-90%.
  • Energy Efficiency: Micro irrigation requires minimum pressure and low flow rate only. Hence, this ensures energy consumption saving up to 30.5%. Even small wells and tanks can also be used as a source of water. Since this system requires very low pressure, off-grid farmers can use solar pumps or diesel pumps.
  • Fertilizer Use Efficiency: Proper mixing of fertilizers and water, control of optimum dosage and direct application of fertilizers to the root zone result in the saving in fertilizer consumption up to 28.5%.
  • Productivity increase: The crop yield (quantity and quality) is increased and the enhancement of productivity is estimated for fruits I crops up to 42.4 % and for vegetables up to 52.7%. This ensures good economic return for the better yields.
  • Irrigation cost saving: This technology reduces the overall cost of irrigation due to decrease in labour requirement for irrigation, weeding and fertilizer application. Irrigation cost saving is up to
    31.9%.
  • New crop introduction: Farmers can judiciously add more new crops due to improved water scenario and it was estimated that as many as 30.4% farmers have done it. Some of the farmers have tried intercropping and crop rotation also.
  • Increase in farmers’ income: The average income of all beneficiaries in all 13 districts was found to be increased up to
    42%. More focussed and judicious use of water and nutrients result in good quality produce and increase in farmers’ income. Moreover, the reduction in spacing between the plants can accommodate more number of plants
  • Fertigation: fertigation, which comprises combining water and fertiliser application through irrigation. Fertigation results in balanced nutrient application, reduced fertiliser requirement of around 7 to 42 per cent (thus, saving expenditure cost incurred by farmer), higher nutrient uptake and nutrient use efficiency.
  • Brings degraded land under cultivation:It is quite apparent that in the present scenario, vertical expansion of agricultural lands is not possible. Therefore, in order to increase the yield and productivity, we have to focus on degraded and waste lands.Micro-irrigation provides this opportunity. A national-level survey undertaken for the Union government showed that farmers were able to bring 519.43 hectares of degraded land under cultivation through the technique.

Government initiative

  • Government has initiated micro irrigation in the Tenth Five Year Plan (2002-2007). Since then, keen initiatives are being taken by Central Government, State Governments, some NGOs and some business firms to promote and propagate this new technology.
  • Micro-irrigation has been given special importance in Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana (PMKSY) with the aim of extending irrigation cover (‘Har Khet Ko Pani’) and improving water use efficiency (‘Per Drop More Crop’) to improve various water development and management activities.
  • Under the programme, financial assistance of up to 55 per cent is available for small and marginal farmers and 45 per cent for other farmers for adoption of micro-irrigation systems

Challenges being faced by micro irrigation programmes

  • Energy crisis due to power outages and unscheduled interruptions across rural and urban India: This problem may be solved by integrated drip irrigation with solar panel system which is considered as the best option for off-grid farmers. In one of the banana fields in Gujarat, it was estimated that the pressure requirement was only 1-1.5 kgIcm2 for in line dripper. A solar pump system in this field consists of 12 solar panels each of capacity 250 Watt, can operate a pump of 3 Horse Power (HP) capacity,
  • Expensive micro irrigation: Most of the adopters are wealthier farmers and poor farmers cannot afford it. This problem is resolved by inventing low cost systems by different agencies. International Development Enterprises (IDE), an NGO is actively working in Maharashtra and Gujarat innovate low cost micro irrigation systems and create awareness among poor farmers.

Conclusion

  • It is quite evident that importance of micro-irrigation to achieve sustainability in Indian agriculture cannot be neglected.
  • But it’s a long way ahead and requires extensive demonstrations, training and awareness programmes to bring Indian farming community abreast with micro-irrigation practices.
  • The farmers are one of the most distressed communities of our society.
  • We have to work with the community and show them the practical and achievable benefits of the technique.

Irrigation In India – PMKSY, AIBP, Watershed Management, Neeranchan, etc.

Buddah Nullah

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Buddah Nullah

Mains level : Canal irrigation system and its limitations

The Punjab govt. has approved ₹650 crore in the first phase for rejuvenation of the highly polluting Buddah Nullah — a seasonal tributary of Sutlej in Ludhiana.

Buddah Nullah

  • Buddah Nullah or Budha Nala is a seasonal water stream that runs through the Malwa region of Punjab.
  • It passes through highly populated Ludhiana and drains into Sutlej River, a tributary of the Indus river.
  • It has also become a major source of pollution in the region as well the main Sutlej river, as it gets polluted after entering the highly populated and industrialized Ludhiana city, turning it into an open drain.
  • Also, since a large area in south-western Punjab solely depend on the canal water for irrigation, and water from Buddha Nullah enters various canals after Harike waterworks.

Why such move?

  • The pollution in the Buddah Nullah is a major threat to public health and environment and the main sources of pollution in the nullah are direct flow of pollutants by industries and dairies.
  • Also, treated effluents from existing STPs, based on UASB technology, does not meet the required quality and overflow from sewer lines add to the problem.
  • The NGT has already directed the government to take proactive steps to immediately address the problem.

Irrigation In India – PMKSY, AIBP, Watershed Management, Neeranchan, etc.

Asia’s biggest surge pool

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Kaleshwaram Lift Irrigation Project

Mains level : Lift Irrigation


Stage is all set for the filling of the Asia’s biggest surge pool (open to sky) with the waters of the Kaleshwaram Lift Irrigation Project.

What is Surge Pool?

  • Surge pool or tank is a water storage device used as pressure neutralizer in hydropower water conveyance system to resists excess pressure rise and pressure drop conditions.
  • It is a standpipe or storage reservoir at the downstream end of a closed aqueduct, feeder, dam, barrage pipe to absorb sudden rises of pressure, as well as to quickly provide extra water during a brief drop in pressure.

About the Kaleshwaram surge pool

  • Constructed on the hillocks on the outskirts of Thippapur village in Illanthakunta mandal, the surge pool measures 92 meters deep and 56 meters diameter and would store one tmc feet of water.
  • Water would be lifted by using four motors to the Ananthagiri Reservoir.
  • The water would reach the surge pool from Mid Manair Dam — Sri Raja Rajeshwara reservoir — by travelling 3.4 km through gravity canal and 7.6 km through tunnel.
  • Incidentally, the open-to-sky Surge pool was constructed in a record time of 13 months at a cost of ₹ 2,700 crore.
  • The four motors in this pool would use 106 MWs of power and accordingly a 440 KVA sub-station was constructed at the vicinity of the pool.

Back2Basics

Kaleshwaram Lift Irrigation Project (KLIP)

Irrigation In India – PMKSY, AIBP, Watershed Management, Neeranchan, etc.

Meghdoot mobile app to assist farmers

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Meghdoot app and its functions

Mains level : Read the attached story


Meghdoot App

  • The Ministries of Earth Sciences and Agriculture have launched a mobile application that will provide location, and crop and livestock-specific weather-based agro advisories to farmers in local languages.
  • It has been developed by experts from the India Meteorological Department and Indian Institute of Tropical meteorology and the Indian Council of Agricultural Research.
  • To begin with, the service would be available for 150 districts in different parts of the country.
  • It will be extended to rest of the country in a phased manner over the next one year.

Utilities of the app

  • It will provide forecast relating to temperature, rainfall, humidity, and wind speed and direction, which play critical roles in agricultural operations and advisories to the farmers on how to take care of their crops and livestock.
  • The app would provide information in the form of images, maps and pictures to help the farmer to have a clearer picture of what is in store.
  • It has been integrated with WhatsApp and Facebook as well to help farmers share advisories among themselves. It will also be integrated with YouTube in future.

Irrigation In India – PMKSY, AIBP, Watershed Management, Neeranchan, etc.

[op-ed snap] : Transforming livelihoods through farm ponds

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Understand what water harvesting is

Mains level : Importance of water harvesting for water conservation

CONTEXT

Prime Minister Narendra Modi explicated the need to implement innovative water management measures, stressing particularly the importance of rainwater harvesting both at the household and community levels. One intervention that has been tried out in various States, and needs to be taken up on a bigger scale, is the construction of farm ponds.

Background

  • With an increased variability of monsoons and rapidly depleting groundwater tables, large parts of India are reeling under water stress.
  • A number of peninsular regions like Bundelkhand, Vidarbha and Marathwada have been facing recurring drought-like situations.

Benefits of Farm ponds:

  • Farm ponds can be cost-effective structures that transform rural livelihoods.
  • They can help enhance water control, contribute to agriculture intensification and boost farm incomes. A recent study on farm ponds in Jharkhand and West Bengal found that they aided in superior water control through the harvesting not just of rainfall but also of surface run-off and subsurface flows. Some of them functioned exclusively as recharge points, contributing to groundwater replenishment.
  • They also helped in providing supplemental irrigation in the kharif season and an enhanced irrigation coverage in rabi. The yield of paddy, the most important crop in kharif, stabilised, thus contributing to greater food security.
  • However, this is possible only if they act as rainwater harvesting structures and not as intermediate storage points for an increased extraction of groundwater or diversion of canal water. The latter will cause greater groundwater depletion and inequitable water distribution.
  • Water retention: Farm ponds retained water for 8-10 months of the year; thus farmers could enhance cropping intensity and crop diversification within and across seasons. The area used to cultivate vegetables and other commercial crops also increased.
  • Figures indicate that the ponds were also a financially viable proposition, with a fairly high Internal Rate of Return, of about 19%, over 15 years.

Challenges:

  • In parts of peninsular India, the idea of a farm pond as an in-situ rainwater harvesting structure has taken a complete U-turn. Some of them are benefiting farmers at an individual level, but not contributing to water conservation and recharge.
  • They are being used as intermediate storage points, accelerating groundwater depletion and increasing evaporation losses as the groundwater is brought to the surface and stored in relatively shallow structures.
  • Need for inlet, outlet provisions – Maharashtra government is promoting farm ponds under a flagship programme that aims to dig over one lakh structures by offering a subsidy of up to ₹50,000 per farmer.
    • Most of them are being constructed without inlet and outlet provisions and their walls are raised above the ground level by only a few feet.
    • They cannot arrest the excess run-off as there is no inlet, and therefore they cannot be used effectively for rainwater harvesting.
    • Further, farmers line them at the bottom with plastic, restricting seepage and converting the ponds into intermediate storage points.
  • Such farm ponds have an adverse impact on the water tables and accelerate water loss. The usual practice here is to lift water from a dug well and/or a borewell, store it in the pond and then draw it once again to irrigate the fields, often using micro-irrigation. This intensifies competition for extraction of groundwater from the aquifer, which is a common pool resource.
  • In such cases, in the command area of the irrigation project, farmers fill up their farm ponds first when the canal is in rotation and then take it from the pond to the field. This can impede circulation of water.
  • During canal rotation, the aquifer will get recharged because of the return flow of water coming from the irrigated fields. This return flow benefits all, as most of the farmers access water though wells in this command. But if canals fill up the farm ponds first, it restricts their benefits only to the pond owners and, in the long term, reduces the overall return flow at the system level.

Farm ponds can act as effective harvesting structures and also yield healthy financial returns. But if they are promoted merely for on-farm storage of groundwater and canal water, they could accelerate, rather than reduce, the water crisis in the countryside.

Irrigation In India – PMKSY, AIBP, Watershed Management, Neeranchan, etc.

Kaleshwaram Lift Irrigation Project (KLIP)

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Kaleshwaram Lift Irrigation Project

Mains level : Lift Irrigation

  • Kaleshwaram Lift Irrigation Project (KLIP) claimed as the world’s largest multi-stage and multi-purpose lift irrigation scheme, was inaugurated.

About the Kaleshwaram Lift Irrigation Project

  • The Kaleshwaram project is an off-shoot of the original Pranahitha-Chevella Lift Irrigation Scheme taken up by the government in 2007 when Andhra Pradesh was not divided.
  • It is aimed to make Telangana drought proof by harnessing the flood waters of the Godavari.
  • Waters of the Godavari will be tapped by reverse pumping and storage, thereby facilitating agriculture on over 38 lakh acres.
  • It would help rejuvenate thousands of tanks, providing water for industries, and supplying drinking water to Hyderabad and Secunderabad by creating a series of storage tanks and a network of pipelines.

Which rivers are involved?

  • The project starts at the confluence point of Pranahita River (amajor tributary of Godavari River) and Godavari River.
  • Pranahita river is a confluence of various other smaller tributaries like Wardha, Penganga and Wainganga Rivers.

Irrigation In India – PMKSY, AIBP, Watershed Management, Neeranchan, etc.

Policy bias against Rainfed agriculture

Note4students

Mains Paper 3: Agriculture | Different types of irrigation and irrigation systems storage

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Not Much

Mains level: Rainfed agriculture in India


News

Rainfed Agriculture Atlas

  1. A new rainfed agriculture atlas has been released this week to map the agro biodiversity and socio-economic conditions prevailing in areas.
  2. The Revitalizing Rainfed Agriculture Network (RRAN) has published the atlas.
  3. It has laid out the stark differences in government policy and expenditure.
  4. It also attempts to document the policy biases that are making farming unviable for many in these areas.

Rainfed Agriculture in India

  1. Three out of five farmers in India grow their crops using rainwater, instead of irrigation.
  2. Even though rainfed agriculture contributes to 60 per cent of the value of agriculture GDP of India, there is a clear-cut bias towards irrigated areas.
  3. However, per hectare government investment into their lands may be 20 times lower.
  4. Government procurement of the crops is a fraction of major irrigated land crops, and many of the flagship schemes are not tailored to benefit them.

Their importance

  1. Rain-fed areas account for 89 per cent of millets production, 88 per cent of pulses, 73 per cent of cotton, 69 per cent of oilseeds and 40 per cent rice production in the country.
  2. Besides, they support 64 per cent of cattle, 74 per cent of sheep and 78 per cent of goat population in the country.
  3. About 61 per cent of India’s farmers rely on rain-fed agriculture and 55 per cent of the gross cropped area is under rain-fed farming.

Due negligence on Rainfed Farmers

  1. There has been negligence toward rainfed areas which is leading to lower incomes for farmers in these areas.
  2. Farmers in rainfed areas are receiving 40% less of their income from agriculture in comparison to those in irrigated areas.
  3. Lands irrigated through big dams and canal networks get a per hectare investment of ₹5 lakh.
  4. Watershed management spending in rainfed lands is only ₹18,000-25,000 and the difference in yield is not proportionate to the difference in investment.

Procurement bias

  1. When it comes to procurement, over the decade between 2001-02 and 2011-12, the government spent ₹5.4 lakh crore on wheat and rice.
  2. Coarse cereals, which are grown in rainfed areas, only had ₹3,200 crore worth of procurement in the same period.

Schemes are often unfit

  1. Flagship government schemes, such as seed and fertiliser subsidies and soil health cards, are designed for irrigated areas and simply extended to rainfed farmers without taking their needs into consideration.
  2. For example, many hybrid seeds notified by the government scheme need plenty of water, fertiliser and pesticides to give high yields and are thus not useful to most rainfed farmers.
  3. Commercial fertilizers will simply burn out the soil without sufficient water.
  4. The government has no system to channelize indigenous seeds or subsidize organic manure in the same way.

Way Forward

  1. A more balanced approach is needed, to give rainfed farmers the same research and technology focus, and production support that their counterparts in irrigation areas have received over the last few decades.
  2. In the long run, cash incentives and income support like the PM-KISAN scheme announced in the budget earlier this month were better than extensive procurement.

Irrigation In India – PMKSY, AIBP, Watershed Management, Neeranchan, etc.

Maharashtra farmers to get sops for using solar pumps

Note4students

Mains Paper 3: Agriculture | Different types of irrigation and irrigation systems storage

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: ASKP Scheme

Mains level: Facilitating Irrigation through solar power


News

  • To encourage farmers to use solar agriculture pumps, the Maharashtra government has decided to give two LED bulbs, a DC fan and a mobile charging socket as freebies.

Atal Solar Krishi Pump (ASKP) Yojana

  1. Maharashtra govt. has launched ASKP scheme for farmers to provide subsidy of upto 95% on solar agriculture pumpsets.
  2. Farmers with less than 5 acres of land just need to day 5% i.e. Rs. 12,000 and get three horse power pump
  3. Farmers with more than 5 acres of land just need to pay Rs. 30,000 and get five horse power solar powered pump

Benefits of the Initiative

  1. The State aims to reduce losses due to non-payment of electricity bills and also promote solar energy by implementing the scheme.
  2. The scheme would be beneficial to farmers who reside in remote areas where the agricultural feeder is not possible.

Neeranchal National Watershed Project

As a part GS-3 – Irrigation systems, We need to focus on relevant projects/schemes launched in 2015-16. We will try to bring all such important projects/schemes. One such project is, “Neeranchal” for the Watershed Component of the Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayi Yojana (PMKSY), Let’s see it in brief!

What is a watershed?

A watershed also known as drainage basin is an extent or an area of land where surface water from rain, melting snow or ice converges to a single point at a lower elevation, usually the exit of the basin, where the waters join another waterbody, such as a river, lake etc.


 


What is watershed management?

  • Watershed management is an adaptive, comprehensive, integrated multi-resource management planning process that seeks to balance healthy ecological, economic, and cultural/social conditions within a watershed.
  • Watershed management serves to integrate planning for land and water; it takes into account both ground and surface water flow, recognizing and planning for the interaction of water, plants, animals and human land use found within the physical boundaries of a watershed.

What are the objectives of Neeranchal?

  • The Neeranchal Project will support PMKSY to improve watershed management practices and demonstrate measurable results in selected sub-watersheds
  • It will introduce new hydrological approaches and innovative tools for community participation with a more integrated watershed planning process
  • Pilot new field practices that will improve conservation outcomes, water availability, agricultural yields and climate resilience, and scale up a more effective monitoring and evaluation system to track performance
  • The project will be implemented by the Ministry of Rural Development over a six-year period (2016-21)

Let’s first learn about Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchai Yojana (PMKSY)

  • PMKSY is a central scheme that aims at providing irrigation facilities to every village in the country by converging ongoing irrigation schemes
  • The vision of extending the coverage of irrigation ‘Har Khet Ko Paani’ and improving water use efficiency ‘More crop per drop’ in a focused manner
  • With end to end solution on source creation, distribution, management, field application and extension activities
  • A dynamic annual fund allocation methodology mandates states, to allot more funds to irrigation sectors for becoming eligible to access funds under this scheme, is being considered

The Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana programme should concentrate on 2 important things –

  • First, it should quickly put to use 20–40 million ha of unutilised irrigation potential created in major, medium and minor irrigation projects
  • Second, it should provide better quality power rations to farmers during the time of peak irrigation demand.
  • Madhya Pradesh has done precisely this and multiplied the state’s irrigated area quickly, at small incremental cost, delivering double-digit agricultural growth

What about funding ?

  • The Government of India and the World Bank have signed a US$ 178.50 million credit for the Neeranchal National Watershed Project to improve watershed management in rural rainfed areas
  • The credit will support the watershed activities of the PMKSY in selected states of Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha and Rajasthan
  • It will cover about 400 sub-watersheds of about 5,000 ha each and reach approximately 482,000 farmer households and two million people
  • The credit is from the International Development Association (IDA) – the World Bank’s concessionary lending arm with a maturity of 25 years, including a 5 year grace period

[IDA – International financial institution which offers concessional loans and grants to the world’s poorest developing countries. The IDA is a member of the World Bank Group]

Concerns that will be addressed by Neeranchal-

  • Bring about institutional changes in watershed and rainfed agricultural management practices in India
  • Build systems that ensure watershed programmes and rainfed irrigation management practices are better focused, and more coordinated, and have quantifiable results
  • Devise strategies for the sustainability of improved watershed. management practices in programme areas, even after the withdrawal of project support
  • Through the watershed plus approach, support improved equity, livelihoods, and incomes through forward linkages, on a platform of inclusiveness and local participation

 

 What are the benefits?

  • Lead to reducing surface runoff of rainwater
  • It will increase recharge of groundwater and better availability of water in rainfed areas
  • It resulting in incremental rainfed agriculture productivity, enhanced milk yield and increased cropping intensity through better convergence related programmes in project areas
  • It will strengthen and provide technical assistance to enhance delivery capacity
  • This is an area development programme and all people living in the project area will be benefitted

What are the challenges ahead?

  • Enhanced participation of communities, building stronger capacities and systems to plan, implement, monitor and post-project sustainability of local institutions and assets
  • These challenges, if not resolved, can result in implementation delays, slow disbursements and benefits

Want to read more?

Published with inputs from Arun
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