Rs 20k-cr corpus fund for irrigation

Rs 20k-cr corpus fund for irrigation

With over 260 districts in the country being declared drought hit, the Centre is finalising long-term irrigation fund with a corpus of Rs 20,000 crore for small and medium irrigation projects.

The Ministry of Finance is in discussion with ministries of Agriculture, Water Resources and Rural Development to finalise the proposal, a senior official in the Ministry of Water Resources told DH.

Ongoing project

National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) will administer the funds which will be given to states to take up irrigation projects and to complete the ongoing projects taken up under Accelerated Irrigation Benefits Programme ( AIBP), sources said.

The Ministry of Water Resources has constituted a committee headed by Chhattisgarh Water Resources Minister Brijmohan Agrawal to look into issues relating to the implementation of the ongoing AIBP projects under the proposed irrigation fund.

“Taking up irrigation projects in rural areas not only helps to increase agriculture productivity but is also advantageous for the overall economic growth, said the official.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who held meeting with chief ministers of 3 severe drought hit states - Karnataka, Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh last week, asked them to take up irrigation projects to address the situation, mainly constructing check dams, percolation tanks, village ponds and rooftop rain water harvesting.

Failure of monsoon for the past 2 consecutive years, resulted in severe water scarcity in 13 states of the country.

Emphasising the government’s plan to take up irrigation projects, the finance minister in his budget speech had said: “Irrigation is a critical input for increasing agriculture production and productivity. Out of 141 million hectares of net cultivated area in the country, only 46% is covered under irrigation.”

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