New Delhi: Water conservation efforts under the rural employment guarantee scheme has benefitted more than 140 lakh hectares of agricultural land in the past three years, the government said on Wednesday.

A survey by the government-funded Institute of Economic Growth found “improvements in productivity, acreage, incomes and water table," in a number of states since the programme was introduced in 2015. About 150,000 farm ponds were constructed under the scheme to ensure storage of rain water and improved irrigation in rural India, it added.

“The water conservation thrust, with a focus on transparency, technically sound planning and execution, and timely wage payments, is transforming the lives and livelihoods of a large number of villages and households in rural India." The statement issued by the government said that rejuvenation of 2,156 rivers has also been planned under the scheme.

Revival of water bodies and the construction of new ponds were included under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme. Water conservation was added to the scheme after two consecutive years of poor monsoon rains in 2014-15 and 2015-16.

“Through these concerted efforts, over 15 lakh farm ponds have already been completed and a very large number of wells, community water bodies and check dams were built. Each and every asset created was also geo-tagged," it added.

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