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PM: Adopt multi-pronged strategy to augment irrigation network

The Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi, today called for quick adoption of a multi-pronged strategy to augment the country’s irrigation network. Chairing a high-level meeting comprising top officials from the Ministries of Agriculture, Water Resources, Rural Development, and Finance, besides the NITI Aayog and the PMO, the Prime Minister asked for a relook at the administrative mechanisms, financial arrangements and technology applications in the irrigation sector, to result in a shorter, more comprehensive decision-making process, which could deliver quick results for the farmers.

Reviewing the preparations for the Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchai Yojana, the Prime Minister said expansion of irrigation has to be linked with a comprehensive evaluation of cropping patterns across states, as well as a judicious mix of modern and micro irrigation systems such as drip and sprinkler irrigation. Simultaneously, a thorough study should be made of various traditional irrigation methods across the country.

The Prime Minister said young researchers from Universities should be involved in irrigation-policy planning. He said irrigation plans need to be worked out at the district level, and young officers from the civil services should be asked to propose district-level irrigation plans.

Exhorting officials to treat the challenge of below-normal rainfall as an opportunity, the Prime Minister called for an intensive short-term effort to boost the creation of farm ponds across the country.

The Prime Minister noted that falling ground-water levels in some states made it essential to bring about an urgent shift in cropping-patterns. He called for focus on maize, and initiatives in value-addition in maize, to make it more attractive for farmers.

Union Minister for Water Resources Ms. Uma Bharati, Union Minister for Rural Development Shri Chaudhary Birender Singh, and Union Minister of State for Agriculture Shri Sanjeev Balyan were present at the meeting.