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PM’s pet irrigation project not mitigating farmers’ woes

PM’s pet irrigation project not mitigating farmers’ woes
Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s flagship project to prevent suicide of farmers in drought-affected regions of the country by ensuring water to every field – Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana (PMKSY) – seems stuck due to financial constraints and is lagging behind schedule.

In a review meeting held recently, the Union Ministry of Water Resources Development admitted that the projects could not be completed but blamed it on the inefficacy of state governments.

Interestingly, a maximum of 26 out of nine 99 priority projects in the country fall in BJP-ruled state of Maharashtra.

“One of the major reasons for the projects to remain incomplete was inadequate provision of funds by the concerned state governments. As a result, a large amount of funds spent on these projects were locked up and the benefits envisaged at the time of formulation of the projects could not be achieved,” said the Ministry in a statement.

According to the Ministry, total funds required for completion of all the 99 identified projects have been estimated at Rs 77,595 crore, which would create irrigation facilities for 76.03 lakh hectare of land.

“The requirement of funds to complete the 99 projects is much more than the provision,” added the statement.

The National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) has now become the main funding agency for these projects, as both Central and the State governments are applying for loans to pump money in these projects. At the time of launching the ambitious scheme, the Centre had made a provision of only Rs 11,060 crore in five years from 2015-16 to 2019-20. Out of that, Rs 2,327 crore has been released under Major and Medium Irrigation project, while Rs 8,732 crore was to be made available through budgetary support.

“Maharashtra’s application for the sanction of loan for State share amounting to Rs 10,711 crore and release of State share of Rs 2,099 crore during FY 2016-17 for their 23 projects has been approved by the Ministry Mission and sent to NABARD for approval,” said the Ministry.

Maharashtra, infamous for farmers’ suicides, has 26 irrigation projects out of which seven are in the Priority I and rest are in Priority III category. The Centre has charted out a roadmap for early completion of these projects.

“The 23 projects of Priority I category have been identified to be completed by 2016-17 and another 31 projects (Priority-II) will be completed by 2017-18.  The balance 45 projects (Priority-III) are expected to be completed by December, 2019,” added the Ministry.

The first trench of Central assistance amounting Rs 1,500 crore was released by NABARD on October 10, while the second trench of Rs 500 was released on December 26, this year.
Siddheshwar Shukla

Siddheshwar Shukla

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