Minor irrigation works to get funding under MGNREGS

Minor irrigation works that had been neglected under successive budgets will now get fresh funding under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) as a result of changes made in the norms to take up such projects.

Under the new norms, local bodies can take up minor irrigation works such as silting, repair of earthen embankments, bank raising, resurfacing of canal base with clay, lining of canals, field drains and farm net will come under the MGNREGS directly linked to agriculture that would provide an end-to-end solution for the entire irrigation canal system ensuring flow of water up to the tail end.

Creation and maintenance of irrigation canals, including micro and minor irrigation works, are permitted under the MGNREGS as priority areas if these projects are linked to agriculture development. The norms have now been expanded to cover hitherto unattended aspects of maintenance and repair, according to government sources.

Under the new norms, all minor irrigation works will be taken up on the basis of a detailed survey by the Irrigation Department, which will prepare the plan and send it to the concerned panchayat for inclusion in the MGNREGS Action plan. The new norms also allow the use of coir geo-textiles for strengthening embankments and plantation of trees on both sides of the canal with suitable fruit plants.

The decision will have a lasting impact as most of the irrigation canals hardly get any budget allocation for renovation and maintenance. Many of the canals were built several decades ago when agriculture figured prominently in the five=year plans. But many of these canals are now in disrepair and silted. With agriculture getting a new focus in recent times through proactive policy initiatives led by Agriculture Minister V.S. Sunil Kumar, the MGNREGS funding for these neglected canal systems would address several issues, including reaching water to the tail end, and loss of water owing to seepage

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Printable version | Sep 24, 2020 5:13:06 PM |

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