Groundwater dominates India's minor Irrigation landscape with 94.8% share: Report | Mint
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Business News/ News / India/  Groundwater dominates India's minor Irrigation landscape with 94.8% share: Report
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Groundwater dominates India's minor Irrigation landscape with 94.8% share: Report

Leading the pack is Uttar Pradesh, boasting the highest number of MI schemes, closely followed by Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, and Tamil Nadu

Groundwater dominates India's minor Irrigation landscape with 94.8% share. REUTERS/K.K. Arora (INDIA)Premium
Groundwater dominates India's minor Irrigation landscape with 94.8% share. REUTERS/K.K. Arora (INDIA)

NEW DELHI: A staggering 94.8% of India's minor irrigation (MI) schemes, out of a total of 23.14 million, rely on groundwater (GW), while the remaining 5.2% are surface water (SW) schemes, according to the latest census data released by the Ministry of Jal Shakti, Department of Water Resources, River Development, and Ganga Rejuvenation.

The census, which references the year 2017-18, provides a comprehensive overview of India's irrigation landscape, offering crucial insights into the current state and future trajectory of the country's water resource management.

India's MI sector is on an upward trajectory, with approximately 1.42 million more schemes compared to the previous census, highlighting the vital role played by minor irrigation in bolstering agriculture.

Leading the pack is Uttar Pradesh, boasting the highest number of MI schemes, closely followed by Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, and Tamil Nadu, solidifying their significance in the nation's agricultural landscape.

Groundwater schemes, which encompass dug wells, shallow tube wells, medium tube wells, and deep tube wells, are most prominent in states like Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, and Telangana. Meanwhile, Surface Water schemes, including surface flow and surface lift schemes, find prominence in Maharashtra, Karnataka, Telangana, Odisha, and Jharkhand.

Dug wells stand as the most prevalent type of MI scheme, followed by shallow tube wells, medium tube wells, and deep tube wells. Maharashtra takes the lead in dug wells, surface flow, and surface lift schemes, showcasing its agricultural prowess.

The census also highlights that an impressive 97.0% of all MI schemes are currently operational, underscoring their indispensable role in supporting agricultural activities. Shallow tube wells and medium tube wells are the predominant 'in use' schemes.

Private ownership takes the spotlight, with a significant 96.6% of MI schemes falling under this category. Groundwater schemes are predominantly owned by private entities, with a share of 98.3%, while Surface Water schemes are at 64.2%.

In a notable development, the census collected data on gender-based ownership for the first time, revealing that 18.1% of individually owned schemes are under female ownership, marking a positive shift toward gender-inclusive agriculture.

When it comes to financing, approximately 60.2% of schemes rely on a single source of finance, with the majority, 79.5%, being funded through individual farmers' savings. Meanwhile, 39.8% of schemes draw funding from multiple sources.

The census, conducted under the centrally sponsored scheme "Irrigation Census," collected extensive data on various parameters, including irrigation sources, irrigation potential created, ownership, landholding size of the owner, devices used for water extraction, and sources of energy. This report will be useful for planners, policymakers, researcher scholars, agricultural and groundwater scientists, and administrators & all concerned with the development of irrigation and the agricultural economy of the country.

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Published: 26 Aug 2023, 05:47 PM IST
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