Development of Minor Irrigation

As water is a State subject, Minor Irrigation sector as a whole is formulated, planned, investigated and implemented by the State Governments and Union Territories.  However, the Govt. of India is assigned the task of policy planning, design and development of this sector.  Minor Irrigation sector in the Govt. of India is handled by Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation, Agriculture & Farmer’s Welfare, Rural Development and Ministry of Tribal Affairs.  Similarly, at the State level, respective Ministries and departments of Water Resources, Agriculture, Rural Development and Tribal Welfare deal with the sector.

Financial provision is being provided in different states to construct Minor Irrigation Schemes, either through Department of Irrigation/Minor Irrigation, Water Resources Development or under PWD/local bodies for development of MI works and for management of on-farm irrigation system and water distribution devices.  Further, in many states, subsidy is  being provided for construction of Minor Irrigation Works for drilling/boring of tube wells, for digging of wells, purchasing of water distribution devices and micro-irrigation equipments like pipes, drip and sprinklers systems.

The Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) has been implemented to provide basic employment guarantee in rural areas.  The Act indicates the kind of works that may be taken up for this purpose.  The focus of the work undertaken under MGNREGA includes:

  1. 1.Water conservation and water harvesting

  2. 2.Drought proofing including afforestation and tree plantation

  3. 3.Irrigation canals including micro and minor irrigation works

  4. 4.Provision of irrigation facilities, plantation, horticulture, etc.

  5. 5.Renovation of traditional water bodies, including desilting of tanks

  6. 6.Flood control and protection works, including drainage in water-logged areas.

The Govt. of India has committed high priority to water conservation and management.  To this effect, Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchai Yojana(PMKSY) has been formulated with the vision of extending the coverage of irrigation “Har khet ko pani” and improve water use efficiency “more crop per drop” in a focused manner with end to end solution on source creation, distribution, management, field applications and extension activities.  PMKSY not only focuses on creating water resources for assured irrigation, but it is also creating protective irrigation by harnessing rain-water at micro level   “Jal Sanchay” and “Jal Sinchan”.  Micro irrigation is an integral component of the scheme to maximize water use efficiency on farm level.  PMKSY adopts state level planning and projectized execution that allows states to draw up their own irrigation development based on district irrigation plans and state irrigation plans.

There are tribal communities who have declining or stagnant population, low level of literacy, pre-agricultural level of technology and are economically backward.  Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTGs) constitute most vulnerable section among tribals and inhabitants isolated in remote and difficult areas in small and scattered hamlets/habitats.  The scheme of development of Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups aims on planning their socio-economic development in a comprehensive manner while retaining culture and heritage of the community by adapting habitat development approach and intervening in all spheres of their socio and economic life, so that a visible impact is made in the improvement of the quality of life of PVTGs.  Irrigation is one of the components under which the tribal families are assisted.

The Centrally Sponsored Plan Scheme “Rationalisation of Minor Irrigation Statistics(RMIS)” was launched in 1987-88 with 100% Central assistance to the States/UTs.  Since the XIth Five Year Plan the RMIS Scheme has become part of the Central Sector Plan Scheme “Development of Water Resources Information System(DWRIS)”.  During the XII Plan, RMIS was a sub-component of “Irrigation Census” component of the Plan Scheme DWRIS.  Currently Irrigation Census (parent component of “RMIS”) is a standalone component under Umbrella Scheme- Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchai Yojana and Other Schemes.

The main objective of the RMIS scheme is to build up a comprehensive and reliable database in the Minor Irrigation (MI) Sector for effective planning and policymaking. The major activity under the scheme is the Census of Minor Irrigation schemes conducted in the States/UTs covering all ground water and surface water schemes (which are mostly under private ownership up to 2000 ha.).  So far six Censuses have been conducted with reference years 1986-87, 1993-94, 2000-01, 2006-07, 2013-14 and 2017-18 respectively.  The Census throws light on important aspects like Irrigation Potential Created and Utilized through minor irrigation structures both ground and surface water, water distribution practices employed by owners of these schemes and also sources used for energisation of these schemes.

For the implementation of the RMIS scheme, each State/UT identifies a Nodal Department for compilation of Minor Irrigation Statistics for the State.  State Statistical Cells are generally created within the Nodal Department so identified by the State Government.  These Cells assist the Head of the Nodal Department or Census Commissioner in the State in organizing, coordinating and supervising the minor irrigation census as an when planned by the Ministry.