The Cabinet has given its approval to extend its umbrella scheme for irrigation, water supply, ground water and watershed development projects for another five years. Less than half of identified irrigation projects have been completed since the scheme began in 2015, according to Jal Shakti Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat.
The extension of the Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana till 2026 will cost ₹93,068 crore, benefit 22 lakh farmers and fund dams critical for water supply to Delhi and five other States in the upper Yamuna basin, said an official statement from the Cabinet Committee for Economic Affairs.
“In 2015-16, 99 projects were identified which were completed more than 50% but had been pending for years. Of the 99 projects, 46 have been completed. The rest of the projects will be completed by 2024-25,” Mr. Shekhawat told journalists after the Cabinet decision.
Potential creation target
The additional irrigation potential creation target over the next five years is 13.88 lakh hectares. Additional projects can be taken up with relaxed inclusion criteria being brought in for projects in tribal and drought-prone areas.
Two large, long-pending projects which will receive new funding include the Renukaji Dam project in Himachal Pradesh and the Lakhwar project in Uttarakhand, which has been pending since approval in 1976. They will help supply water to Delhi and Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, U.P., Haryana and Rajasthan and play a role in rejuvenating the Yamuna, said the statement.
Har Khet Ko Pani, another component of the PMKSY, focuses on expanding physical access on farms and increasing the cultivable area under assured irrigation through surface water projects and by restoring water bodies. This is targeted to bring another 4.5 lakh hectares under irrigation by 2026. The Cabinet has now expanded inclusion criteria for water body rejuvenation projects, including both urban and rural water bodies, and enhancing Central assistance from 25% to 60%.
The PMKSY’s watershed development component aims to conserve soil and water in rainfed areas and regenerate ground water resources, prevent run-off and promote water harvesting. An extra 2.5 lakh hectares will be brought under protective irrigation during 2021-26 under this component.
The outlay of ₹93,068 crore for 2021-26 includes Central support of ₹37,454 crore to States and ₹20,434 crore worth of debt servicing for loans availed by the Centre for irrigation development during the first phase of the scheme in 2016-21.