Water is a precious natural resource. Development of surface as well as ground water for increasing the agricultural production to meet the growing requirement of the country is very important. Despite large scale industrialisation during the plan periods more and more emphasis has been given on increasing agricultural production. It is essential to mobilise all efforts to maximise the productivity of agricultural land. One of the major impediments of full exploitation of the possibility of intensive agriculture is the lack of assured and dependable irrigation water supply throughout the year. The rainfall in large parts of the cropped area is low and uncertain in its distribution. Therefore, there is a strong need for irrigation. The average yield, which is dependent on effective irrigation, is usually low with high fluctuations from year to year.
The area under irrigation has increased substantially during the post independence period and construction of a large number of major, medium and minor irrigation projects have contributed to this to a large extent. The minor irrigation schemes provide the farmers with controlled and timely irrigation which the new high yielding varieties of seeds demand. These schemes are labour intensive, less implementation period and involve reasonable investments for their commissioning. As part of various development programmes, innumerable new schemes are being taken up in the States/UTs.
As the surface water projects alone are not able to meet the full demand of water, farmers install wells and tube-wells in their command area to provide supplementary irrigation.
Minor Irrigation Scheme
All ground water schemes and surface water schemes (both flow and lift) having culturable command area up to 2000 ha. individually are classified as Minor Irrigation Schemes. Ground water schemes comprise of dug wells, dug-cum-bore wells, borings, private shallow tubewells, filter points and deep tubewells. The command area of private ground water schemes varies from 1 to 5 hectares. The State Governments provide assistance in installation of such schemes which confines mainly to technical guidance, custom service for boring and arrangements for credit facilities at reasonable rates of interest. The subsidies are also made available for installation of these schemes to weaker sections of farmers. The construction, operation and maintenance of these schemes are done by the farmers themselves. The deep tubewells which extend up to the depth of 200 metres or more are designed to give a discharge of 100 to 200 cubic metres per hour.
The surface water schemes comprise of surface flow schemes and surface lift irrigation schemes. The surface flow schemes typically consist of tanks, check dams, structures and can serve as water conservation cum ground water recharge scheme. The structures are generally prevalent in hilly regions. These are known as Kuhl in Jammu & Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh, Gul in Uttar Pradesh, Ahars and Pynes in Bihar and low Khones and Dongs in north-eastern region. The small storage tanks are owned by community or local bodies and generally have command areas up to 40 hectares. The large storage tanks alongwith the distribution system having command area varying from 40 to 2000 hectares are constructed by State Government Department. Details of various types of MI schemes is given in Concept/ Definition
(Appendix-I), Para 2