Agriculture is the biggest water consumer. It uses around 70 percent of all freshwater withdrawals worldwide. With a growing world population, agriculture will face more competition from industrial and domestic water users. This is why agriculture will have to use water more efficiently.
Sensing the need for conserving and optimum utilization of water, the Indian government’s Department of Agriculture, Cooperation and Farmers Welfare (DAC&FW) is implementing a centrally-sponsored scheme ‘Per Drop More Crop’ under the ‘Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana (PMKSY-PDMC)’ since 2015-16 in all the states. It focuses on enhancing water use efficiency at farm level through micro irrigation viz drip and sprinkler irrigation systems.
Micro irrigation is a low pressure, low volume irrigation system suitable for high-return value crops such as fruit and vegetable crops. If managed properly, micro irrigation can increase yields and decrease water, fertilizer and labour requirements.
Main objectives of Per Drop More Crop (Micro Irrigation) Scheme are:
- Increase the area under micro irrigation technologies to enhance water use efficiency in the country.
- Increase productivity of crops and income of farmers through precision water management.
- Promote micro irrigation technologies in water intensive/consuming crops like sugarcane, banana, cotton etc. and give adequate focus to extend coverage of field crops under micro irrigation technologies.
- Make potential use of micro irrigation systems for promoting fertigation.
- Promote micro irrigation technologies in water scarce, water stressed and critical ground water blocks/districts
- Link tubewell/river-lift irrigation projects with micro irrigation technologies for best use of energy both for lifting and pressurised irrigation as far as possible.
- Establish convergence and synergy with activities of ongoing programmes and schemes, particularly with created water source for its potential use, integration of solar energy for pressurised irrigation etc.
- Promote, develop and disseminate micro irrigation technology for agriculture and horticulture development with modern scientific knowledge.
- Create employment opportunities for skilled and unskilled persons, especially unemployed youth for installation and maintenance of micro irrigation systems.
Area covered under micro irrigation in the financial year 2020-21 as part of the Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana is about 8.66 lakh hectares.
Total area covered under the micro irrigation in the financial year 2020-21 in India from the financial year 2015-16 to 2020-21 is about 56.4 lakh hectares.
The scheme is being implemented through the mechanism of Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT). Aadhaar details of the beneficiary are required to access the benefit of the programme. Aadhaar details need to be linked through a web-based registration process.
More focus is being given on promotion of micro irrigation for water intensive/guzzling crops to minimise water requirement.
The pattern of assistance payable to the beneficiary under the micro irrigation scheme is 55% for small and marginal farmers and 45% for other farmers, which is met by both the central government and state government in the ratio of 60:40 for all states except the North Eastern and Himalayan states. In the case of these states, ratio of sharing is 90:10. For the Union Territories, funding pattern is 100% grant by the Central Government.
The subsidy payable to the beneficiary will be limited to an overall ceiling of 5 hectare per beneficiary.
The subsidy payment will be limited to the unit costs specified in the scheme guidelines. 25% higher amounts have been taken into calculation of subsidy for the North Eastern and Himalayan states and 15% higher for states with low penetration of MI namely Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Odisha, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal and Union Territories.
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