Budget 2018: As Union budget 2018 is just around the corner, people are eyeing on the upcoming announcements by finance Minister Arun Jaitley on February 1. Agriculture, which is one of the top most priorities of Modi government is likely to witness new plans and projects in order to boost the farming sector of the nation. The Economic survey 2017-18, which was presented today in the parliament focused on agriculture sector as it employs more than 50 per cent of the total workforce in India and contributes around 17-18 percent to the country’s GDP. The economic survey report was prepared by Chief Economic Adviser, Arvind Subramanian and is a review of the annual economic development of the country.
Groundwater which is a necessity of Indian Farmers for irrigation is undergoing a crisis as the rampant use of it lowered the water level. In order to conserve the country’s depleting groundwater level, the Modi government has finalised the Atal Bhujal Yojana (ABY), a Rs 6000 crore scheme, according to a Hindustan Times report.
The scheme, which was first announced by Arun Jaitley a year and a half ago in the Union Budget, is likely to get Rs 6,000 crore in the upcoming Union Budget 2018, while another amount of Rs 3,000 crore will be provided to the scheme by the World bank.
Under the Atal Bhujal Yojana scheme, groundwater will be conserved efficiently and it will provide adequate amount of water for the use of agricultural purposes. In the past years, the level of groundwater has been decreased to a great extent. The scheme will also focus to to revive other water bodies like rivers so that the groundwater level can be increased in the rural parts of India, where agriculture is the main source of occupation. The scheme will use the water available in the river Ganga to advance the water level.
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According to a world bank report, about 245 billion cubic metre of groundwater is extracted each year in India. This represents about 25% of the total groundwater extraction. The world bank report also stated the fact that in the past four to five decades, 80% of the rural and urban domestic water supplies in India have been dependent on groundwater.
The scheme, Atal Bhujal Yojana is waiting to get cleared by the cabinet and if passed, it will be introduced in the Indian states of Gujarat, Maharashtra, Haryana, Karnataka, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh, covering 78 districts, 193 blocks and more than 8,300 gram panchayats.
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As the central government does not have any power over groundwater, the Indian Easements Act of 1882 deals with it. According to this law, water below the land surface belongs to the land owner.