Union Cabinet clears central irrigation scheme

RSTV Bureau

Agri-Min-Fin-MinThe Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) on Wednesday approved the Prime Minister’s Agriculture Irrigation Scheme and the setting up of online National Agriculture Market.

The cabinet approved the central scheme for providing irrigation facility to every village in order to reduce farm sector’s dependence on monsoon. This new scheme will congregate the ongoing schemes being implemented by various ministries.

The ‘Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana (PMKSY) assumes importance as 65 per cent of the total 142 million hectare of cultivable farm land in India is still not covered by irrigation and relies on the vagaries of monsoon.

According to sources, PMKSY aims at protective irrigation of all agricultural farms to able to produce ‘per drop more crop’.

The scheme has a budget allocation of Rs 1,000 crore for this fiscal.  It also proposes to provide flexibility and autonomy to states in the process of planning and executing projects for ensuring water to every farm.

Under this scheme, the district and state irrigation projects will be prepared on the basis of agro-climatic conditions of the place and the availability of water in the region.

PMKSY also seeks to promote activities such as ‘on farm water management and crop alignment’ for farmers and grass root level field functionaries.

The state agriculture department will be the nodal agency for implementation of PMKSY projects and there will also be an inter-ministerial National Steering Committee (NSC) for periodic review.

A number of central schemes are operational to boost irrigation coverage within India. But the goal of bringing irrigation water to every farm is far from reality.

States will receive 75 per cent of the fund as grant from the centre and the remaining 25 per cent will have to borne by the state government. For the north-east and hill-states, the state government will only have to bear 10 per cent of the fund.

The Cabinet also approved setting up of an online national agriculture market to provide more options to farmers for selling their products.

In other major decisions, the Cabinet extended ban on onion hoarding for another year. The order has been extended as onion prices in both wholesale and retail markets have begun to increase.

(With inputs from PTI)