Union Minister for Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, Rural Development and Pachayati Raj, Narendra Singh Tomar, said on Wednesday (8 September) that the government has set the target of covering 100 lakh hectares under micro-irrigation in five years' time.
He was addressing a webinar on 'Enhancing Water Use Efficiency and Coverage of Micro Irrigation in Indian Agriculture', which was attended by over 100 participants from various departments of the Central government, state governments and implementing agencies.
Tomar said that around 11 lakh farmers have benefited by the adoption of drip and sprinkler irrigation system and during the last five years, an area of 47.92 lakh hectares has been covered under micro-irrigation in the country, which includes 11.72 lakh hectares for the year 2019-20 which is a significant achievement, according to a statement by Ministry of Agriculture.
Further, he informed that the Department of Agriculture, Cooperation and Farmers Welfare (DAC&FW) is implementing the 'Per Drop More Crop' component of the Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayi Yojana (PMKSY-PDMC) since 2015-16 for enhancing water use efficiency in the agriculture sector and more importantly for the overall benefit of the farmers.
The Agriculture Minister said that the government has created a dedicated Micro Irrigation Fund (MIF) of Rs 5,000 crore with the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) with the objective to facilitate the states in mobilising resources for expanding coverage of micro-irrigation.
The steering committee of MIF and NABARD has sanctioned projects of Rs 3,805.67 crore for covering 12.53 lakh hectares under MIF.
Tomar advised all the states to access MIF for incentivising micro-irrigation through an additional (top up) subsidy over and above the one available under PMKSY-PDMC for achieving the target.
He also asked the states to access the fund for innovative integrated projects including projects in the public private partnership (PPP) mode, depending on state specific requirements to bring additional area under micro-irrigation PDMC.
Stressing that micro irrigation not only increases water use efficiency but also the productivity of the crops, Tomar said that there is a need for adopting a holistic approach for more production from unit area by improving soil health, reduction in input costs, enhancing crop productivity and increasing farmers’ awareness for benefiting the farming community and helping the vision of Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi for doubling of farmers’ income.
(With inputs from IANS)
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