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NEW DELHI : The government has extended the Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana (PMKSY), launched in 2015 to improve farm productivity by four years till 2025-26 to complete ongoing projects. The programme entails additional spending of 93,068 crore.

On Wednesday, the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) approved central support of 37,454 crore to states and 20,434.56 crore for servicing debt for loans availed by the Centre for irrigation development during 2016-21.

The government also approved the Accelerated Irrigation Benefit Programme (AIBP), Har Khet ko Pani (HKKP), and watershed development components of the PMKSY for four years to 2025-26.

Under the AIBP, which offers financial support to irrigation projects, the government aims to extend irrigation to 1.39 million hectares by 2025-26. Apart from completing 60 ongoing projects, including the 3- million-hectare command area development, additional projects can also be taken up as part of the programme. In addition, the inclusion criteria have been eased for projects under tribal and drought-prone areas.

“Central funding of 90% of water component for two national projects, namely Renukaji Dam Project (Himachal Pradesh) and Lakhwar Multipurpose Project (Uttarakhand), has been provisioned. The two projects would allow storage in the Yamuna basin, benefitting six states in the upper Yamuna basin, augmenting water supply to Delhi, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, and Rajasthan. It is a major step towards the rejuvenation of Yamuna," Union minister Ashwini Vaishnaw told reporters at the cabinet briefing.

Under the HKKP, which aims to expand the cultivable area under assured irrigation, the government plans to bring 450,000 hectares under irrigation through minor projects and rejuvenation of water bodies.

Through the watershed development component, the government envisages the completion of sanctioned projects covering 4.95 million hectares of degraded land and bringing an additional 250,000 hectares under protective irrigation through 2025-26. 

The cabinet also approved an incentive scheme to promote low-value RuPay debit cards and BHIM-UPI transactions (person-to-merchants only). 

“Under the scheme, acquiring banks will be incentivized by the government by way of paying a percentage of the value of transactions done through RuPay Debit cards and low-value BHIM-UPI modes of payments at an estimated financial outlay of 1,300 crore for a period of one year with effect from 1 April 2021," Vainshaw said. 

This scheme will encourage banks to build robust digital payment ecosystems, promote RuPay Debit card and BHIM-UPI digital transactions across sectors and segments of the population, and deepen the reach of digital payments in the country, the government said. It will also help popularize digital payments in unbanked areas and marginalized populations.

The scheme is also expected to spur research and development and innovation in the fintech industry.

The scheme has been formulated in compliance with the Budget announcements by the government to further boost digital transactions in the country. 

In a separate decision, the cabinet approved the proposed treaty on Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters between India and Poland to enhance the capability and effectiveness of both countries in the investigation and prosecution of crimes, including crimes related to terrorism through mutual legal assistance.

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