Tamil Nadu

T.N. finishes on top in micro-irrigation coverage

A pro-active approach of the Agriculture Department officials in the last couple of years led to significant increase in the coverage of micro irrigation in Tamil Nadu.

A pro-active approach of the Agriculture Department officials in the last couple of years led to significant increase in the coverage of micro irrigation in Tamil Nadu.   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangements

State govt. gives liberal subsidy in addition to doles under the PMKSY

At a time when every segment of society is reeling under the impact of COVID-19, farmers have brought some cheer to Tamil Nadu. In the just-concluded financial year 2019-20, the State finished on top at the all-India level for micro-irrigation coverage.

This has been achieved as part of implementation of the Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana (PMKSY), a programme aimed at promoting the “more crop per drop” concept by focussing on water-saving technologies.

A perusal of data on the website (https://pmksy.gov.in/mis/rptAchievement.aspx) reveals that during the inaugural year of the programme (2015-16), Tamil Nadu had just about 32,290 hectares under micro-irrigation, lagging behind several States such as Telengana (39,864 ha), Rajasthan (56,345 ha), Karnataka (64,220 ha), Andhra Pradesh (94,104 ha) and Gujarat (about 1.43 lakh ha).

Tamil Nadu saw an improvement next year but that was only incremental. It was from 2017-18 that the State made giant strides when the coverage reached about 1.05 lakh ha.

A year later, the coverage went up by about 67,000 ha and during 2019-20, the overall figure was 2.06 lakh ha, surpassing the performance of consistently high-performers such as Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka. Last year, the two southern States could cover about 95,520 ha and 1.41 lakh ha respectively. As for 2019-20, officials of the Tamil Nadu Agriculture department assert that the coverage is 2.18 lakh ha with an expenditure of ₹1,112 crore.

However, as regards the cumulative total coverage under the PMKSY during 2015-2020, Tamil Nadu occupies the fourth spot with about 5.62 lakh ha, according to the PMKSY website.

The first place goes to Karnataka (8.16 lakh ha) followed by Andhra Pradesh (7.17 lakh ha) and Gujarat (7 lakh ha). At the all-India level, 43.71 lakh ha of lands were brought under micro irrigation in the last five years.

Extra incentive

Explaining how Tamil Nadu executed the PMKSY, the officials point to a number of steps taken to promote the programme. The State government had given subsidy in addition to what was provided by the Centre to small and marginal farmers and big farmers. For example, for sugarcane, small and marginal farmers get 100% subsidy for laying drip system and big farmers,75%.

By developing an exclusive website “Micro Irrigation Management Information System” (MIMIS), the implementation — from registration of beneficiaries to the final round of release of funds — has been made online, simplifying the procedure and speeding up the approval process.

The State government has absorbed the cost of 12% goods and services tax (GST) on micro irrigation components.

It has identified 45 firms for the purchase of components, giving a choice to farmers, the officials say, adding that Department of Agricultural Engineering and Sugar Directorate have worked closely with the Department of Agriculture in implementing the programme.

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Printable version | Jul 15, 2020 3:54:59 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/tn-finishes-on-top-in-micro-irrigation-coverage/article31258885.ece

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