The irrigation sector has gained traction over the past few years, with a greater focus on multipurpose irrigation projects and infrastructure creation through a number of flagship government programmes. One such programme is the Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana (PMKSY). Initiated in 2015, this is an umbrella scheme being implemented by the Ministry of Jal Shakti. It has two key components – the Accelerated Irrigation Benefits Programme (AIBP) and the Har Khet Ko Pani (HKKP) initiative. HKKP, in turn, consists of four sub-components: command area development (CAD); surface minor irrigation (SMI); repair, renovation and restoration (RRR) of water bodies; and ground water development. In addition, PMKSY has two other important components that are being implemented by other departments. The Department of Agriculture, Cooperation and Farmers Welfare under the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare is implementing the Per Drop More Crop (PDMC) component of the PMKSY while the Watershed Development component is being implemented by the Department of Land Resources, Ministry of Rural Development.
The PMKSY programme focuses on improving irrigation techniques by promoting efficient water conveyance and field application devices within the farm, such as underground piping systems, drip and sprinklers, pivots, rain-guns and other application devices; and promoting scientific moisture conservation and run-off control measures to improve ground water recharge. It also focuses on the creation of new water sources; repair, restoration and renovation of defunct water sources; construction of water harvesting structures, and secondary and micro storage systems; ground water development; and enhancement of the potential of traditional water bodies at the village level.
Progress so far
As of March 14, 2022, 85 irrigation projects are being implemented under CAD. Further, 1,244 minor surface irrigation and 13 ground water irrigation schemes, as well as 1,139 watershed development works are currently under implementation. In addition, 295 water bodies are under renovation and works targeting Rs 40 billion as subsidy for micro irrigation are being implemented under the PMKSY.
Meanwhile, under the AIBP, four major irrigation projects have been undertaken in Uttar Pradesh, with pari-passu implementation of CAD and water management. Of this, one project, the Bansagar Canal project, was completed in 2018. Further, physical and financial works of two projects – Arjun Sayahayak and Saryu Nahar Pariyojna – are expected to be declared completed in the current financial year. Work on the Madhya Ganga canal Phase II project is also at an advanced stage of implementation. Of the targeted irrigation potential of 1.65 million hectares, 1.47 million hectares has been created in these projects, and central assistance of Rs 13.98 billion has been disbursed so far under the PMKSY-AIBP. Apart from this, under the AIBP, 60 major and medium irrigation projects are at various stages of implementation with financial assistance.
Under the RRR of water bodies component of the PMKSY, a cluster of eight schemes has been completed in Uttar Pradesh while another cluster of 12 schemes is currently under implementation. Of the targeted 3,450 hectares, an irrigation potential of 2,350 hectares has been created so far. Central assistance of Rs 0.16 billion has been disbursed for these schemes. Similarly, in the underground water component, a cluster with a target of 28,090 hectares is currently under implementation. Of this, 15,910 hectares has been created, for which central assistance worth Rs 0.17 billion has been released.
Under the PDMC component of the PMKSY, 23,250 hectares have been brought under micro irrigation in Uttar Pradesh, with disbursement of central assistance worth Rs 5.22 billion. Meanwhile, under the watershed development component, 249 projects have been funded and completed with central assistance of Rs 1.97 billion.
Under Union Budget 2022-23, the programme has received a total outlay of Rs 109.54 billion, 96 per cent higher than the budget estimate for 2021-22 (Rs 55.89 billion). While HKKP has been allotted Rs 7.85 billion, the CAD and water management component has received Rs 10.44 billion and AIBP has been allocated Rs 32.38 billion.
What lies ahead
The PMKSY was targeted to run till March 2021. Considering the success of the programme, on December 15, 2021, the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) approved the implementation of the programme for the period 2021-26, with an outlay of about Rs 930 billion. The CCEA has approved central support of Rs 374.54 billion for the states and Rs 204.35 billion for debt servicing for the loan availed by the Government of India for irrigation development under PMKSY 2016-21. The components of the programme that have been approved for continuation during 2021-26 include AIBP, HKKP and watershed development.
Under AIBP, the total targeted additional irrigation potential to be created during 2021-26 is 1.38 million hectares. Apart from focused completion of 60 ongoing projects, including their 3.02 million hectare CAD, additional projects can also be taken up. The inclusion criteria have been relaxed for projects in tribal and drought-prone areas. Central funding of 90 per cent for the water component for two national projects – the Renukaji dam project (Himachal Pradesh) and the Lakhwar multipurpose project (Uttarakhand) – has been provisioned. The two projects are expected to provide storage in the Yamuna basin, which will benefit six states in the Upper Yamuna basin, augmenting water supply to Delhi as well as Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Rajasthan. This is a major step towards rejuvenation of the River Yamuna.
Meanwhile, under the HKKP’s surface minor irrigation and RRR of water bodies components it is targeted to provide an additional 450,000 hectares of irrigation. In view of the importance of the rejuvenation of water bodies, the cabinet has approved a paradigm shift in the funding of their rejuvenation in both urban and rural areas. This includes a significant expansion of their inclusion criteria and enhancement of central assistance from 25 per cent to 60 per cent in general areas. For the ground water component of the HKKP, an irrigation potential of 152,000 hectares has been approved provisionally for 2021-22.
Under the watershed development component, the focus is on the development of rainfed areas for the purpose of soil and water conservation, regeneration of ground water, arresting of runoff and promotion of extension activities related to water harvesting and management. The approved watershed development component of the Department of Land Resources envisages the completion of sanctioned projects covering 4.95 million hectares of rainfed/degraded lands and the bringing of an additional 250,000 hectares under protective irrigation during 2021-26. A specific provision for the development of spring sheds has also been included in the programme. Backed by such a strong programme, it is expected that the irrigation scenario will improve significantly in the coming years.