Subsidy for irrigation projects may be doubled

New Delhi, Nov 16 | Updated: Nov 17 2005, 06:30am hrs
The government has planned to double the subsidy for micro-irrigation projects from existing 25% to 50%.

The proposal would be put before the Cabinet next month, Union agriculture secretary Radha Singh said addressing the media on the eve of the international conference on plasticulture and precision farming. The subsidy burden will shared by the Centre and the states in the ratio 4:1.

On use of plastics in agriculture, Ms Singh said that plasticulture (like drip irrigation)and precision farming had been found useful in a country like India, where 60% of the farm lands were rainfed and availability of water was coming under increasing stress. She also said the plasticulture in agriculture prevent ed wastage of fertilisers and water. Essential resources like fertilisers and water could be better targeted to the crops, she said.

In India, area under drip and sprinkler irrigation is two million hectare with western and southern states taking the lead.

Ms Singh said that water shortages due to vagaries of monsoon and global climate change were being reported from different parts of the country. This situation had necessitated use of technologies such as micro-irrigation, greenhouse cultivation, mulching, tunnelling, use of shade nets, in vitro propagation alongwith deployment of modern communication and information technologies.

All these form part of a package that micro-irrigation helps to improve productivity, quality of the produce and reduces salt concentration in the root.