Modi pitches for rural irrigation scheme

PM wants scheme to be dovetailed with NREGA

A day after passing an ordinance on land acquisition laws, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday pitched for fast-tracking his pet pro-farmer initiative – a nationwide rural irrigation scheme.

Modi also sought to speed up the implementation of inter-linking of rivers by asking the Water Resources Ministry to identify rivers where the ambitious project could be taken up immediately.

Addressing a meeting involving ministries of Agriculture, Water Resources and Rural Development, Modi said the ultimate goal of the Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana should be to provide irrigation to every farm.

He also wanted the irrigation scheme to be dovetailed with the Centre's rural jobs scheme – NREGA – which has been used for creation and augmentation of irrigation assets. Modi said NREGA should be integrated with the overall plan of Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchai Yojana.

The Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana was announced by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley while presenting his maiden Union Budget on July 10 to mitigate risks to the farmer since the bulk of the farm lands were rainfed and depend on the monsoons. He had allocated Rs 1,000 crore for the scheme that would facilitate access to irrigation.

He also called for comprehensive mapping and identification of water bodies across the country for which satellite imagery and 3D photography could be used to guide villages to best possible sources of irrigation.

 Modi asked the departments concerned to look into the possibility of identifying progressive farmers, who could take the lead in implementing water conservation and innovative irrigation techniques. He also called for integrating water recycling projects of key towns and cities, to irrigation in nearby rural areas.

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