Irrigation assets being created under the Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana (PMKSY) will be managed and maintained by water users associations, Agriculure Secretary Shobhana K Pattanayak said today. The government has charted out a roadmap for early completion of 99 identified projects under PMKSY, which will irrigate an additional 7.6 million hectares of farmland. “The assets once created by the government is continued to be maintained by stakeholders. There comes a challenge….We have ensured that all those assets which are going to put to use in the coming 3-4 years will have a mandatory water users association,” Pattanayak said at an Assocham event.
The emphasis has been on the management of irrigation assets by water users. This reform is linked to the formation of water user groups and participatory irrigation management, he said. If irrigation assets are managed by farmers, efficiency of water use will increase and there will be equal distribution of water, he noted. Of the 99 projects, 23 projects (Priority-I) have been identified to be completed by 2016-17 and another 31 projects (Priority-II) by 2017-18 while the balance 45 projects (Priority-III) have been identified to be completed by December 2019.
“The fundamental problem in the country is that whenever someone gets access to water, he shifts to water-intensive crops and this practice is not right. We must try to economise use of water,” Pattanayak said. In dryland areas, he said, the government is emphasising on watershed approach and promote climate-smart agriculture by growing crops like millets and pulses.
The country can achieve self sufficiency in pulses produciton if farmers learn to optimise irrigation, he said. Despite constraints, India has made good use of water and today 45 per cent of the land is under irrigation, he added. Pattanayak also unveiled a knowledge report ‘Achieving integrated water resources management: a local to national vision’.