Millennium Post

Ready for high-level panel to monitor long term irrigation fund use, says Sitharaman

New Delhi: Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Monday said the government will look at setting up a high-level committee to monitor use of long term irrigation fund.

The long term irrigation fund was instituted under NABARD in 2016-17 under the 'Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchyee Yojana-Accelerated Irrigation Benefits Programme' that envisages bringing 76 lakh hectares under irrigation through 99 identified projects.

"The funds which have been allotted and the projects which have benefited from it under the long term irrigation fund will be better served if there is a high-level committee to monitor it," Sitharaman told the Lok Sabha.

Noting that she would come back to the House after forming a committee which can look into these projects, Sitharaman said the review can be done along with the states.

"The suggestion that a high-level committee should consider reviewing it is a very well-taken point... I will certainly look into forming a high-level committee for reviewing it," she said during the Question Hour.

In a written reply, she said that as on March 31, 2019, cumulative loans sanctioned and disbursed, including towards both central and state share, were Rs 75,769.9 crore and Rs 34,248.73 crore, respectively, under the long term irrigation fund.

According to her, the same could be the case for many other projects under the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD).

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