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75 lakh hectares brought under PMKSY - Per Drop More Crop Micro Irrigation since 2016: Kailash Chaudhary, Minister of State, Agriculture and Farmers Welfare

Dec 21, 2023

New Delhi, December 21, 2023: Addressing the National Smart Irrigation Summit 2023, organised by FICCI and the Irrigation Association of IndiaMr Kailash Chaudhary, the Union Minister of State for Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, underscored that a notable 75 lakh hectares brought under micro-irrigation since 2016 alone. 

Since its inception in 2005, the PMKSY, aiming to enhance water use efficiency at the farm level has covered about 1.5 crore hectares of farmland. This substantial increase in coverage reflects the Government's commitment to sustainable agriculture and efficient water management, the minister emphasised

The minister also shed light on the burgeoning role of agritech startups in revolutionising Indian agriculture. Over 3000 startups are currently engaged in introducing innovative technologies and adopting new methodologies to enhance agricultural productivity. Mr Chaudhary emphasised the need for collective action, urging every stakeholder in the agricultural ecosystem to join hands in tackling water scarcity issues.  

Speaking on occasion, Mr Franklin L. Khobung, Joint Secretary, Union Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare, stressed that 86 per cent of the country's available water resources are being utilised for agriculture. Further, only 50 per cent of the total Net Sown Area, amounting to 140 million hectares, is irrigated, indicating that half of the irrigated land in India consumes the majority of its water resources, underscoring a pressing need for more efficient water management practices. He pointed out that micro-irrigation can cover an additional 69 million hectares in India. Emphasising the importance of industry collaboration, he noted that micro-irrigation is an industry-driven scheme, reliant on the support and innovation of the private sector. 

In this regard, Joint Secretary noted that the Ministry of Agriculture has revised operational guidelines to include a special purpose vehicle (SPV) in each state. This initiative has already shown promising results in states like Gujarat and Tamil Nadu. Additionally, special provisions for cluster development have been introduced to further enhance the efficacy of these efforts.  

Mr Kaushal Jaiswal, Co-Chairman, FICCI National Agriculture Committee & Sr. Vice President, Irrigation Association of India & MD, Rivulis Irrigation India, highlighted the critical challenge of water management in agriculture, comparing India's water usage with China's. He noted that India uses approximately 560 billion cubic metres (BCM) of water to produce 320 million tons of food grains, significantly higher than China, which uses 385 BCM and produces 571 million tons of food grains.  

Jaiswal highlighted the critical decrease in India's per capita water availability from over 5,000 cubic metres at independence to just 1,500 today, accentuating the challenges of a growing population and diminishing water tables. He underscored that a majority of India's irrigation depends on groundwater, the highest globally, underscoring the urgency for effective aquifer recharge. Advocating for micro-irrigation and smart agriculture techniques, Jaiswal emphasised these as transformative solutions for sustainable and efficient farming, crucial for addressing agricultural challenges and achieving sustainability goals. 

Mr Shrikant Goenka, President, Irrigation Association of India & MD, Premier Irrigation Adritec, underscored the potential of micro-irrigation as a transformative solution. Capable of saving over 50 per cent of water used in agriculture, micro-irrigation enables farmers to achieve significant savings – 30 per cent in fertiliser and 40 per cent in labour costs. Furthermore, the implementation of micro-irrigation has led to substantial increases in farm outputs, often exceeding 50 per cent, he stated. 

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