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

Sep, 10, 2018

Heritage tag for 2 irrigation facilities in Telangana


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

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: ICID, HIS, Ana-katta, Pedda-Cheruvu

Mains level: Irrigation systems in India



The International Commission on Irrigation and Drainage (ICID) has accepted Telangana’s nomination of Sadarmatt anicut across river Godavari in Nirmal district and Pedda Cheruvu in Kamareddy district in the ICID Register of Heritage Irrigation Structures (HIS).

Sadarmatt anicut

  1. The HIS award is a deserving recognition to this irrigation facility which has provided precious water for paddy crops in its designed ayacut of 13,100 acres since its construction in 1891-92.
  2. It has also served as a picnic spot for people from an area which may not be as vast its catchment area of nearly 40,000 sq miles but is spread over old undivided Adilabad, Karimnagar and Nizamabad districts.
  3. The anicut, which is English word for Telugu’s ana-katta, meaning a rainfall bund, was built by Nawab Ikbal-ud-Dowla who bore the tile of Vicar-ul-Umrah Bahadur in 1891-92 about 50 km downstream of the Sri Ram Sagar Project (SRSP).
  4. Ottley was the engineer and Khanapur was a jagir of the Nawabs during the rule of the Nizam of Hyderabad.
  5. Sadarmatt bund is 437.4 m long on its left flank and 23.8 m on its right flank.
  6. The left canal is 21.5 km long while the right canal is 10 km and the distributory is 12 km in length irrigating 5,700 acres, 3,400 acres and 4,000 acres respectively.

Pedda Cheruvu

  1. The Pedda Cheruvu (big tank in Telugu) located on the outskirts of this district headquarters town is spread over an area of 618 acres.
  2. It was built in 1897 during the rule of Mir Mahaboob Ali Khan, the sixth Nizam of Hyderabad State.
  3. It has a 1.8-km-long tank bund and 145-metre weir and three sluices. It’s catchment area is spread over 68.97 sq. km.
  4. With a capacity of 0.175 tmcft it provides water for irrigation to over 900 acres in Kamareddy, Sarampally, Narsampally and old Rajampet.
  5. It also provides drinking water for residents of the area.
  6. Womenfolk play Bathukamma during the Navaratrotsavalu on its bund and immerse them in its waters.
  7. This tank was taken up under the second round of Mission Kakatiya to be developed as a mini tank bund with an estimated outlay of ₹ 6.6 crore.


International Commission on Irrigation and Drainage (ICID)

  1. The ICID is a Technical and Voluntary Not-for-profit, International NGO, dedicated to enhance the world-wide supply of food and fibre for all people by improving water and land management, and the productivity of irrigated and drained lands.
  2. The ICID By-laws have been enacted its International Executive Council for the due implementation of the provisions of the Constitution of the Commission.
  3. It is headquartered in New Delhi.
  4. ICID has been involved in the global discussions leading to Agenda 21, World Water Vision, World Water Forums etc., which have become the focal point of several of its technical activities.
  5. In recognition of its significant contribution to the programs and objectives of International Year of Peace proclaimed by the UN General Assembly, on 15 September 1987 ICID was designated as a Peace Messenger by the UN Secretary General.
Jul, 16, 2018

[pib] Bansagar Canal Project


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Bansagar Canal Project, Mapping of Son River

Mains level: Not Much


  1. PM Modi  dedicated the Bansagar Canal Project to the Nation.
  2. This project will provide a big boost to irrigation in the region, and will be greatly beneficial for the farmers of Mirzapur and Allahabad districts of Uttar Pradesh.

Bansagar project

  1. Bansagar or Ban Sagar Dam is a multipurpose river Valley Project on Son River situated in the Ganges Basin in Madhya Pradesh, India with both irrigation and 435 MW of hydroelectric power generation.
  2. It was commissioned in 2008.
  3. The project was called “Bansagar” after Bana Bhatt, the renowned Sanskrit scholar of the 7th century in the court of Harsha (who also wrote Harshacharita).
  4. After 2014, this project was made a part of the Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchai Yojana, and all efforts were made to complete it.
  5. Bansagar will irrigate an area of 2,490 km² in Madhya Pradesh, 1,500 km²; in Uttar Pradesh and 940 km² in Bihar.

About Son River

  1. Son River of central India is the second largest of the Ganges’s southern tributaries after Yamuna River.
  2. The Son originates near Amarkantak in Madhya Pradesh just east of the headwater of the Narmada River, and flows north-northwest through Madhya Pradesh state before turning sharply eastward where it encounters the southwest-northeast-Kaimur Range.
Jul, 13, 2018

[op-ed snap] India needs to focus on water efficiency


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

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Composite Water Management Index (CWMI)

Mains level: Impending water crisis in India and ways to tackle it


Water scarcity in India

  1. Over the past few months, concern and awareness about water resources have reached an unprecedented high
  2. Two successive events have led to such a watershed change in discussion on water resources
  3. First, the news came in that Shimla is running out of water and was forced to turn away tourists that drive the city’s economy during summer
  4. Second, NITI Aayog released the Composite Water Management Index (CWMI) in June

Findings in CWMI

  1. The CWMI is a pioneering exercise that seeks to identify, target and improve key water resources-related indicators
  2. The index has a set of 28 key performance indicators (KPIs) covering irrigation status, drinking water and other water-related sectors. Critical areas such as source augmentation, major and medium irrigation, watershed development, participatory irrigation practices, sustainable on-farm water use practices, rural drinking water, urban water supply and sanitation
  3. This index highlighted the current plight, showing how low-performing states house approximately 50% of India’s population, and how 21 major cities may run out of the groundwater by 2021

Water usage pattern in India

  1. Presently, irrigation water use accounts for 80% of the available water, i.e. 700 BCM
  2. Within the limited availability of 1,137 BCM, we need to cater to the growing demand of the population, including domestic water requirement, industrial requirement, ecology sustenance, and power generation requirement
  3. The present level of irrigation efficiency for surface and groundwater is 30% and 55%, respectively

Measures that need to be taken

First, Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Maharashtra, Telangana and other water-deficient states should promptly move towards micro-irrigation systems

  • Conventional surface irrigation provides 60-70% efficiency, whereas, higher efficiency of up to 70-80% with sprinkler and 90% with drip irrigation systems can be achieved

Second, the states should continue to focus on command area development (CAD)

  • This is now part of Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana (PMKSY) which focuses on “more crop per drop”
  • CAD will play a critical role in bridging the gap between irrigation potential created (IPC) and irrigation potential utilized (IPU)

Third, the cropping patterns in the states should be changed as per the agro-climatic zones

  • Improper cropping patterns affect both crop productivity and irrigation efficiency
  • Now it is time to focus on more nuanced aspects of water-use efficiency and agriculture productivity

Fourth, we need to address the issue of fragmentation in farming

  • There are two measures to tackle this issue
  • States can expedite the adoption of the Model Agricultural Land Leasing Act, 2016—which can lead to consolidation of small farms
  • The second option may provide early gains—creating and ramping up farmer producer organizations (FPO)
  • FPOs provide a sense of ownership to farmers and encourage community-level involvement with lower transaction costs
  • Almost 70% farmers in India are marginal farmers and the average farm size is 1.15 hectares. Therefore, there is a huge opportunity in forming the FPOs
  • This will lead to economies of scale on farm produce, water-usage and cost of production

Way Forward

  1. The above measures have huge scope for changing the landscape of water efficiency in the irrigation sector, which accounts for the majority of water resource consumption in India
  2. Doubling farmers income by 2022 is a noble vision, but preserving water resources for the sustainable growth of India is as critical
Jun, 26, 2018

[op-ed snap] Using agriculture to tackle the water crisis


Mains Paper 3: Agriculture | Major crops cropping patterns in various parts of the country

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Composite Water Management Index, Agriculture genomics

Mains level: Impact of Green revolution on cropping patterns in India


NITI Aayog’s Composite Water Management Index

  1. It underscores the looming threat of India’s water crisis
  2. Current proportions are severe—about 200,000 people die every year due to inadequate access to water—and are set to become far more so

Agriculture is the biggest user

  1. It consumes about 83% of India’s freshwater resources
  2. The roots of the problem may lie in the Green Revolution
  3. Green revolution included skewed incentive structures—heavily subsidized electricity, water and fertilizers for farmers
  4. This has also played a significant role in the misalignment of crop patterns in the country

Misalignments in cropping

  1. The production of water-thirsty crops like paddy and sugarcane takes place in the Punjab-Haryana belt and Maharashtra respectively
  2. Environmentalists have often argued that sugar cane is the cause of chronic drought in Marathwada
  3. The Nabard-Icrier report makes an argument for moving such high water-reliant crops to other, relatively water-abundant areas
  4. In regions with high irrigation water productivity better suited to water-intensive crops—such as Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh—poor power supply and other such problems make cultivation of water-intensive crops non-remunerative

Using science

  1. India’s public sector agriculture research institutions led by the Indian Council of Agricultural Research had released a record 313 new crop varieties during 2016-17
  2. These crops would increase farm production while minimizing the use of inputs
  3. The list of new crops includes an early maturing (52-55 days) variety of mung pulse—the first of its kind in the world
  4. Developments like these have the potential to help states adopt a more sustainable cropping pattern without disrupting the flow of their income streams

Other interventions

  1. Investing in readjusting irrigation patterns is equally important for fulfilling the “more crop per drop” objective
  2. Natural water systems lose their dilution capacity on becoming hydrologically deficient, leading to a higher concentration of pollutants
  3. To deal with such water-management challenges in rivers and groundwater, boosting alternative irritation techniques such as drip irrigation is a necessity
  4. Irrigation techniques such as the alternate wetting and drying method (AWD)—a widely practiced technique in the Philippines and Vietnam can also be used

Way Forward

  1. The tasks of making agriculture remunerative as well as water-friendly eventually coincide
  2. India still lags behind its Asian neighbors in agriculture genomics—the process of increasing agricultural productivity by developing crops with promising agronomic traits
  3. Research and development in multi-resistant, water-efficient and high-yielding crops along with investment in alternative modes of irrigation need to be taken up
Jun, 16, 2018

Why is Telangana's Kaleshwaram Lift Irrigation Project important?


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

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Kaleshwaram Lift Irrigation Project, Rivers involved in it.

Mains level:  Read the attached story


What’s the project?

  1. 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.
  2. After conducting a highly advanced Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) survey for a couple of months, the government separated the original component serving the Adilabad area as the Pranahitha project.
  3. The project is designed to irrigate 7,38,851 hectares (over 18.47 lakh acres) uplands in the erstwhile districts of Karimnagar, Nizamabad, Warangal, Medak, Nalgonda and Ranga Reddy.

Why is it Unique?

  1. Claimed to be the costliest irrigation project to be taken up by any State till date with an estimated cost of ₹80,500 crore.
  2. KLIP has many unique features, including the longest tunnel to carry water in Asia, running up to 81 km, between the Yellampally barrage and the Mallannasagar reservoir.
  3. The project would also utilize the highest capacity pumps, up to 139 MW, in the country to lift water.
Dec, 11, 2017

[pib] Water circuits to be developed on the lines of power circuits


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

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Water circuits

Mains level: Water management


  • There is a need for river connectivity, construction of Barrages, Dams, Rubber dams and Bandhas, drip and piped irrigation in the country
  • There is also a need for water circuits in the country on the lines of power circuits for better water conservation
  • Availability of water is not the problem but we have to learn to manage and conserve it

Achieving water efficiency:

  • To double the income of farmers by the year 2022 cannot be achieved without proper water management
  • Enhancing drip and pipe irrigation will reduce wastage of water and will be cost effective for farmers
  • River connectivity programme can reduce water crisis in critical areas like Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Telangana, and Maharashtra.

Why is this cause taking place?

  • Declining level of groundwater in many parts of the country
  • Per capita availability of water is also reducing


  • A definite strategy has been prepared for conservation of water resources and cleaning Ganga
Sep, 07, 2016

Innovations in place for irrigation projects

  1. Purpose: To ensure that these projects are completed
  2. Funding: The key hindrance used to be that States lacked funds to complete projects but now rules have been amended to allow them to get loans from NABARD for their projects
  3. States can also borrow additional funds from NABARD
  4. Through NABARD, the government will provide 15-year loans at 6% interest and ensure that a project is sanctioned only if panchayats and local water-use associations are closely involved
  5. The average cost over-run of projects so far has been 352% with some more than 2000%
  6. Monitoring: The status of a project with an app
  7. To ensure efficiency we need more participation from end-users
Sep, 07, 2016

Centre mulls mega fund flow to push irrigation

  1. NABARD will manage a Rs. 77,000-crore corpus as part of a Central government push to complete 99 unfinished irrigation projects across the country by 2019
  2. This would help bring water to 76.03 lakh hectares
  3. These projects are part of PM Krishi Sinchayee Yojana
  4. Priority: All drought and suicide-prone districts will be first covered
  5. There will be short-cut (sic) appraisals & incentives will be given to States who complete their projects before time
  6. Background: The 99 projects are part of 149 irrigation projects across the country, overdue since 1997
  7. At least Rs. 67, 539 crore has been spent on these until March 2015 to build dams and irrigation projects but with little water actually making it to farmers’ fields
  8. Traditionally the Central government apportioned money to States to complete projects
Apr, 08, 2016

India water week: Addressing critical water issues

  1. Organised by: Ministry of Water Resources, River Development & Ganga Rejuvenation
  2. Outcomes: Need to prioritise a multi-disciplinary approach to water
  3. Laws should inculcate a respect for the principle that water is a common legacy
  4. Government’s Initiatives: Krishi Sinchayee Yojana, Nirmal Bharat Abhiyan and Integrated Watershed Management Programme
Jan, 19, 2016

Modi likely to unveil Mission Kakatiya pylon

  1. PM would unveil a pylon of Mission Kakatiya, one of the flagship programmes of the State Govt taken up for revival of minor irrigation tanks.
  2. unique identity number will be allocated to every tank being taken up for revival.
  3. The target for second phase of the programme this year was revival of 10,308 tanks.
  4. The govt had already taken a decision to take the help of IIT and BITS here in its endeavour to revive chain-link tank system.
Jan, 15, 2016

India signs a agreement with World Bank for Watershed Project

  1. The Govt of India signed a loan agreement with World Bank for the Neeranchal National Watershed Project.
  2. The project will be implemented by the Ministry of Rural Development over a six-year period (2016-21).
  3. It will support the Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayi Yojana in hydrology and water management, agricultural production systems, capacity building and monitoring and evaluation.
  4. All the 29 states which implement the watershed projects will benefit from Neeranchal.
  5. 12% of the wasteland area will be targeted through this project to make about 336 lakh hectares of land arable.
Jan, 13, 2016


  1. The aim is to ensure smooth availability of labour.
  2. MNREGS labourers are usually engaged in irrigation projects, one of the main focus of the scheme — but a formal arrangement does not exist.
  3. It would also ensure availability of adequate hands for agrarian work as rural India had seen a shortage of labourers for agriculture work after MGNERS was rolled out.
  4. PMKSY is under Ministry of Agriculture and MGNERS is under Ministry of Rural Development.
Dec, 01, 2015

States get more time to spend funds on micro irrigation

The Agriculture Ministry has extended by a month the deadline for States to utilise funds under the Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchai Yojana (PMKSY).

  1. Under the scheme, States were supposed to restore water bodies and converge micro irrigation projects.
  2. The schemes had to be implemented by States but if they failed to do so, then they would stand to lose the funds.
  3. Against a target of 5 lakh hectares, only 1.32 lakh hectares had been brought under micro irrigation.
  4. The programme envisages drought proofing, drip and sprinkler irrigation and tying up with MGNREGA schemes, all of which are within the purview of State governments.
Oct, 08, 2015

CCEA approves World Bank Assisted Project - Neeranchal

  1. Neeranchal for Watershed Component of Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayi Yojana.
  2. What’s this new initiative going to aid to? 3 things, actually!
  3. Watershed Component of the Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayi Yojana (PMKSY)
  4. Ensuring access to irrigation to every farm (Har Khet Ko Pani)
  5. Efficient use of water (Per Drop More Crop).
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