In all the developing countries public expenditure is considered to be a key policy. Consider and discuss the need of government expenditure in irrigation facilities.

Civil Services Main Examination

General Studies (Paper - 3) : Model Question & Answers In all the developing countries public expenditure is considered to be a key policy. Consider the statement in Indian context and discuss the need of government expenditure in irrigation facilities. Mechanism that contribute in accelerating agricultural productivity.

Nine principles underpinning water democracy

1. Water is nature's gift. Diversions that create arid or waterlogged regions violate the principles of ecological democracy.
2. Water is essential to life. All species and ecosystems have a right to their share of water on the planet.
3. Life is interconnected through water. We all have a duty to ensure that our actions do not cause harm to other species and other people.
4. Water must be free for sustenance needs.
5. Water is limited and exhaustible if used non-sustainably.
6. Water must be conserved within ecological and just limits.
7. Water is a commons.It cannot be owned as private property and sold as a commodity.
8. No one holds a right to destroy. Tradable-pollution permits violate the principle of sustainable and just use.
9. Water cannot be substituted. It cannot be treated as a commodity.

Agricultural Productivity: Public investment in Irrigation

  • The impact of drought has been identified in morethan 50percent of districts especially the worst in Maharashtra, Karnataka, Jharkhand and Telangana.

  • Rainfall deficit together with high temperature would not only have adverse effect on agricultural productivity and food security, but may also impinge upon livelihood of a sizeable population dependent on agriculture.

A study of Indian context

  • Broad findings in Indian context show that investment on agricultural and the major medium irrigation system and various input subsidies contributed the maximum during 1970 and 80s. These investment in conjunction with the adoption of HYVs during green revolution significantly helped accelerate private investment attain higher crop yields and change the country from chronic food deficit to food secure

  • But in 90s, there was a strong case for diverting expenditure from subsidies to investment towards roads and education, which lessened focus towards irrigation.

  • A big push in investment in irrigation was given during the 2000s to trigger agricultural growth that had been at its minimal for long

  • It grew at faster rate in Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Undivided Bihar.

  • A major portion of expenditure went towards investment in medium schemes, nearly 13 percent to minor irrigation, 1 percent in command area development, 5percent in flood control and some into subsidies on account of canal irrigation.

  • The annual rate of growthis higher in investment in major and medium irrigation scheme compared to that in the minor irrigation scheme, but huge expenditure is incurred by the government in minor schemes to provide subsidized power to farmers to pump water from beneath the earth.

  • States hardly make direct investment in micro irrigation system except for providing capital subsidy to farmers on their purchase.

Disparities among States

  • Larger interstate disparities in public investment in irrigation are also discernible.

  • Richer states like Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Karnataka and Maharashtra tend to spend more than Rs. 2000/ha on irrigation compared to low income agriculturally dominated states like Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Odishawith 0less than Rs.1000/ha, who spend on subsidy.

  • Consequent upon increase in investment the area irrigated by canals has gone up in Odisha, Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, in recent years

  • Besides low level of investment, marked inefficiency in completion of major project could be holding back states to realize the irrigation potential.

Role of minor irrigation projects

  • Evidence further shows that the ratio of irrigation potential created from minor irrigation is much higher than that from medium and large irrigation project

  • Essentially minor irrigation project should be given priority by policy makers more so as to play a significant role in recharging of wells, drought mitigation and flood control.

  • This would necessitate scaling up investment in rural energy and also some policy control and checks to avoid excessive withdrawal of ground water.

  • Accelerating investment in micro irrigation, comprising drip and sprinkler irrigation has great potential to improve water use efficiency, especially in sugarcane and banana. Present and future plans  The mission Kakatiya of Telegana aims at the management and revival of traditional tanks and lakes.

  • The India Water Week 2016 based on the theme ‘Water for All: Striving Together’: India Water Week 2016 is a platform to elicit ideas and opinions from global-level decision makers, politicians, researchers and entrepreneurs in the field of water resources for mutual benefit and goodwill.

  • The central government has initiated drought relief programme to compensate crop losses, sent water trains to the highly water scarce areas and planned judious use of ground water.  The Pradhan MantriKrishiSinchayeeYojana is a policy initiative that would accelerate public investment in both micro and macro irrigation.


These kinds of initiatives if implemented can go a long way in increasing irrigated areas, sustaining agricultural productivity and doubling farm income. The need of hour is a strong commitment of the state governments to strategize timely investments and be in the mission mode.


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