The Micro Irrigation Fund (MIF), with a corpus of Rs. 5,000 crores has been created under NABARD

New Delhi: The Department of Agriculture, Cooperation & Farmers Welfare (DAC&FW) is implementing a Centrally Sponsored Scheme of ‘Per Drop More Crop’ component of ‘Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana (PMKSY-PDMC)’ from 2015-16 in all the States of the country which focuses on enhancing water use efficiency at farm level through Micro Irrigation viz. Drip and Sprinkler irrigation systems. Besides promoting Micro Irrigation, this component also supports micro level water storage or water conservation/management activities to supplement source creation for Micro Irrigation. An area of 52.93 lakh ha has been covered under Micro Irrigation in the country from 2015-16 to till date. Further, 4.84 lakh micro level water harvesting / secondary storage structures have been created under the scheme to supplement the micro irrigation.

Recent evaluation studies of the scheme indicate that the coverage of Micro Irrigation is relevant in achieving national priorities such as substantially improving on-farm water use efficiency, enhancing crop productivity, ensuring better returns to farmers, generating employment opportunities etc. Further, the scheme has been effective in terms of ensuring benefits for farmers e.g. higher productivity; reduction in labour cost, water consumption, power utilization, fertilizer use etc.

Efforts are being made to converge ‘Per Drop More Crop’ Scheme with Atal Bhujal Yojana (ABHY), Namami Gange Districts, Pradhan Mantri Kisan Urja Surakshaevem Utthan Mahabhiyan (PM-KUSUM), Water Harvesting Structures through Watershed Development component of PMKSY to propagate micro irrigation intensively to contribute in achieving the desired targets to enhance the water use efficiency in agriculture.

With a view to provide impetus to the Micro Irrigation in the country, MIF with a corpus of Rs. 5000 Crore was created with NABARD during 2018-19. The major objective of the fund is to facilitate the States in mobilizing the resources to provide top up/additional incentives to farmers for incentivising micro irrigation beyond the provisions available under PMKSY-PDMC. States may also access MIF exclusively for innovative integrated projects (like high water duty crops like sugarcane/solar linked systems/Micro irrigation in command area etc.) including projects in PPP mode depending on State specific requirements. The GoI provides 3% interest subvention on loans extended to State Govt. under MIF.

Under the ongoing MIF fund, projects for Rs. 3970.17 crore has been approved for loan under MIF to the States of Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, Haryana, West Bengal, Punjab & Uttarakhand which would be facilitating bringing of 12.83 lakh ha of area under Micro Irrigation. Besides, proposals from Rajasthan, West Bengal Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and J&K are in pipeline at State levels. More and more States are showing interest in availing assistance from Micro Irrigation Fund considering the potential for Micro Irrigation and its significance.

To further strengthen & expand the adoption of Micro Irrigation systems by the farmers in the county for enhancing water use efficiency at farm level, a Budget announcement has been made to double the initial corpus of Micro Irrigation Fund of Rs. 5000 created under NABARD, by augmenting it by another Rs. 5,000 crores.

The enhancement of corpus by additional Rs. 5000 crores will give further boost to the efforts of more States/UTs in promoting judicious use of water, enhancing water use efficiency as well as improving production and productivity which ultimately increase the income of the farming community.