New guidelines for micro irrigation released to encourage investment

The Union Minisry of Agriculture has released new guidelines on the National Mission on Micro Irrigation (NMMI), which are expected to enhance water use efficiency and productivity in crops and provide answers to water salinity and water logging issues.

The revised norms, along with incorporation of additional components, would incentivize further investments in water saving technologies to increase gross area under cultivation.

This, in turn, will help usher in the next green revolution and enhance food security of the country, an official press release said.

NMMI was launched as a Mission in June 2010. Earlier, it was implemented as a centrally-sponsored scheme, which brought more than two million hectares (ha) under micro irrigation as against the national potential 69 million ha.

The NMMI is expected to boost convergence of micro irrigation activities under major government programmes such as National Food Security Mission (NFSM), Integrated Scheme of Oilseeds, Pulses, Oil Palm & Maize (ISOPOM), Technology Mission on Cotton (TMC) and so on for increasing water use efficiency, crop productivity and farmers income.

The scheme also has an effective delivery mechanism that calls for close coordination among the beneficiaries, the Panchayats, the State Implementing Agencies and the registered system suppliers for the increased area under gross cultivation.

For the current fiscal, the Ministry of Agriculture has made an allocation of Rs. 1106 crore under NMMI.

The salient features of the scheme are:

? Small & marginal farmers would get subsidy of 60 per cent and for other beneficiaries, 50 per cent for an area up to 5 hectare under the Government of India share.

? Introduction of new components with advanced technologies on micro irrigation like semi permanent sprinkler system, fertigation system, sand filter, different types of valves etc.

? Release of Central share to the State Implementing Agencies instead of districts.

The National Committee on Plasticulture Applications in Horticulture (NCPAH), as the nodal agency, provides suitable policy measures for effective implementation of NMMI in the country. NCPAH monitors the performance of 22 Precision Farming Development Centres (PFDCs) and overall development of precision farming methods and hi-tech interventions in general in the country.

Through the PFDCs, it also carries out research & development activities to build data base in plasticulture and suggest suitable strategies in development of quality standards for products used in plasticulture.

NCPAH will develop an on-line monitoring system for easy access and simplified process as an effective tool for the mission implementation and administration for increasing area in water saving technologies under micro irrigation in the country, the release added.


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