GS-3, Uncategorized

Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti Yojana (DDUGJY)

Electrifying the rural India in mission mode


deen-dayal-upadhyaya-gram-jyoti-yojna


 

  • Aim: To ensure electrification of all the un-electrified villages by 2017 in mission mode <do you know how many villages are electrified? Answer in comments.>
  • The Scheme draws its inspiration from the similar pioneering scheme implemented by the Government of Gujarat
  • It will enable to initiate much awaited reforms in the rural areas
  • It focuses on feeder separation (rural households & agricultural) and strengthening of sub-transmission & distribution infrastructure including metering at all levels in rural areas <How does feeder separation help? Answer in comments.>
  • The scheme will replace the existing Rajiv Gandhi Grameen Vidyutikaran Yojana (RGGVY)
  • Scheme has an outlay of Rs 76000 Cr for implementation

Why DDUGJY?

  • The rural agricultural and non-agricultural consumers of the country are generally serviced through the local distribution network which is unreliable
  • Many rural areas of the country face insufficient electricity supply, consequently the distribution utilities are forced to resort to load shedding
  • This affects the power supply to both agricultural and non-agricultural consumers
  • The demand of power in rural areas is increasing day by day due to changing consumer base, improving living standards for which augmentation of rural infrastructure needs to be regularly undertaken
  • To improve the commercial viability of power distribution, there is need for metering of all categories of the consumers

Objectives:

  • To provide electrification to all villages
  • Feeder separation to ensure sufficient power to farmers and regular supply to other consumers
  • Improvement of Sub-transmission and distribution network to improve the quality and reliability of the supply
  • Metering to reduce the losses

Benefits:

  • All villages and households shall be electrified
  • Increase in agriculture yield
  • Business of Small and household enterprises shall grow resulting into new avenues for employment
  • Improvement in Health, Education, Banking (ATM) services
  • Improvement in accessibility to radio, telephone, television, internet and mobile etc
  • Betterment in social security due to availability of electricity
  • Accessibility of electricity to schools, panchayats, hospitals and police stations etc
  • Rural areas shall get increased opportunities for comprehensive development
  • Key enabler in Digital India programme

Progress:

  • Govt has achieved its annual target of electrifying 7000 villages during this (2015-16) fiscal year under DDUGJY (according to recently published data) <can you tell us the definition of an electrified village? Answer in comments>
  • However, these figures have been contested and critcised for being unrealistic
  • An analysis by The Hindu- The govt has electrified 20% of the villages that were without power at the start of this financial year (2015-16)

Follow the story for updates- Policy Wise: India’s Power Sector

Agriculture, GS-3, Uncategorized

Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana (PMKSY)

Achieving the goals of- Per drop more crop & Har khet ko paani


 

PMKSY envisages amalgamation of ongoing schemes:

  1. Accelerated Irrigation Benefit Programme (AIBP) of the Ministry of Water Resources, River Development & Ganga Rejuvenation (MoWR RD & GR)
  2. Integrated Watershed Management Programme (IWMP) of Department of Land Resources (DoLR)
  3. On Farm Water Management (OFWM) of Department of Agriculture and Cooperation (DAC)

Ministries involved:

  1. Ministry of Rural Development- Mainly undertake rain water conservation, construction of farm pond, water harvesting structures, small check dams and contour bunding etc.
  2. MoWR RD & GR- Undertake various measures for creation of assured irrigation source, construction of diversion canals, field channels, water diversion/lift irrigation, including development of water distribution systems
  3. Ministry of Agriculture- Promote efficient water conveyance and precision water application devices like drips, sprinklers, pivots, rain-guns in the farm “(Jal Sinchan)”, construction of micro-irrigation structures to supplement source creation activities, extension activities for promotion of scientific moisture conservation and agronomic measures

Objectives:

  • Achieve convergence of investments in irrigation at the field level
  • Har Khet ko pani- Expand cultivable area under assured irrigation
  • More crop per drop- Improve on-farm water use efficiency to reduce wastage of water & enhance the adoption of precision-irrigation and other water saving technologies
  • Enhance recharge of aquifers and introduce sustainable water conservation practices by exploring the feasibility of reusing treated municipal based water for peri-urban agriculture
  • Attract greater private investment in precision irrigation system.

Features:

#1. Financial outlay- Rs. 50,000 crore over a period of five years (2015-16 to 2019-20)

#2. Bringing under a common platform- all the concerned Agencies engaged in creation/ use/ recycling/ potential recycling of water

This will ensure that a comprehensive and holistic view of the entire “water cycle” is taken into account and proper water budgeting is done for all sectors namely, household, agriculture and industries

#3. Decentralized State level planning and execution structure

  • This will allow states to draw up a District Irrigation Plan (DIP) and a State Irrigation Plan (SIP)
  • DIP will have holistic developmental perspective of the district, outlining medium to long term developmental plans
  • DIP will integrate three components namely, water sources, distribution network and water use application
  • These will be prepared at two levels- the block and the district

#4. Geotagging- All structures created under the schemes will be geotagged

Implementing Committees:

#1. National Steering Committee (NSC):

  • It will supervise and monitor the programme at the national level
  • This is an Inter-Ministerial committee under the Chairmanship of the Prime
  • Minister with Union Ministers of all concerned Ministries

#2. National Executive Committee (NEC):

  • It will oversee programme implementation, allocation of resources, inter-ministerial coordination, monitoring and performance assessment, addressing administrative issues etc.
  • To be constituted under the Chairmanship of the Vice Chairman, NITI Aayog

#3. State Level Sanctioning Committee (SLSC):

  • It will administer the scheme at the state level
  • It will be Chaired by the Chief Secretary of the respective States
  • It will have all authority to sanction the project and also monitor the progress of the scheme

#4. District Level Implementation Committee: At the district level; for ensuring last mile coordination at the field level

Now it’s time to solve some IAS prelims questions

  1. Consider the following statements: (IAS 2015)1. The Accelerated Irrigation Benefits Programme was launched during 1996-97 to provide loan assistance to poor farmers.
    2. The Command Area Development Programme was launched in 1974-75 for the development of water-use efficiency.
    Which of the statements given above is/are correct?(a) 1 only
    (b) 2 only
    (c) Both 1 and 2
    (d) Neither 1 nor 2
  2. consider following pairs:
    Programme/ Project Ministry
    1. Drought-Prone Area Programme of Agriculture
    2. Desert Development Programme of Environment and Forests
    3. National Watershed Development Project for Rainfed Areas of Rural Development

     

    Which of the above pairs are correctly matched? (IAS 2014)

    1. 1 and 2 only
    2. 3 only
    3. 1, 2 and 3
    4. None
  3. What are the benefits of implementing the ‘Integrated Watershed Development Programme’? (IAS 2014)
    1. Prevention of soil runoff
    2. Linking the country’s perennial rivers with seasonal rivers
    3. Rainwater harvesting and recharge of ground water table
    4. Regeneration of natural vegetation

    Select the correct answer using the code given below.

    1. 1 and 2 only
    2. 2, 3 and 4 only
    3. 1, 3 and 4 only
    4. 1, 2, 3 and 4
  4. With reference to micro-irrigation, which of the following statements is/are correct? (IAS 2011)
    1. Fertilizer/nutrient loss can be reduced
    2. It is the only means of irrigation in dry land farming.
    3. In some areas of farming, receding of ground water table can be checked.

    Select the correct answer using the codes given below:

    (a.) 1 only (b.) 2 and 3 only (c.) 1 and 3 only (d.) 1, 2 and 3


Suggested Readings-

Agriculture, Big Picture, GS-3, Uncategorized

Thrust on Agriculture and Rural Economy: Is it a game changer?

It has now been agreed upon by almost everyone that the recent budget has a distinct tilt towards agriculture, farm sector and rural economy. It is being argued that this tilt is due to the impression or rather criticism against the government that it was pro-capitalist, pro-industry and anti-farmers. The finance minister has listed a series of policies and measures that are aimed at alleviating distress in agriculture and rural economy.

Background:

Agriculture is a major contributor to the nation’s economy and it provides livelihoods for more people than any in other economic sector, particularly in rural India. About 68% of the country’s population lives in rural areas, according to the World Bank.

  • However, agriculture industry has struggled since the monsoon rainfalls have been poor for two consecutive years, which has severely affected crop production. This, in turn, has hit rural spending. Several farmers have taken their lives following crop failures, unable to cope with the burden of their debts – an issue that has gained worldwide media attention in recent years.
  • Mr Jaitley’s focus on rural India in his budget was seen by many as an effort to win over voters, but the country’s rural and farming economies desperately need some help.

What’s in the budget for Agriculture?

Finance Minister has announced the allocation of almost 360 billion rupees (more than $5.25 billion) toward agriculture and farmers’ welfare. More than two-thirds of that money will go toward irrigation and sustainable management of water resources.

  • Another 55 billion rupees (over $800 million) was allocated for a government crop insurance scheme. A separate corpus of 150 billion rupees (almost $2.2 billion) was provisioned for subvention of interest on loans taken by farmers.
  • In addition, the focus on organic farming is expected to help farmer incomes in rain-fed and stressed areas.
  • The proposed allocation under the Pradhan Mantri Grameen Sadak Yojna has been increased to 27,000 crore, with the aim of connecting 65,000 eligible habitations by constructing 2.23 lakh km of roads by 2019. This is expected to significantly improve farm-to-fork linkages, facilitate expansion in distribution for consumer goods companies, and reduce wastage in the value chain.
  • The government also announced its commitment to achieving 100 per cent village electrification by 1 May 2018, for which 8,500 crore has been provided for Deendayal Upadhayaya Gram Jyoti Yojna and Integrated Power Development Schemes. This will further benefit the rural markets by improving cold chain infrastructure thereby reducing wastage, improving availability of perishables and increasing farmer income by reducing dependence on fuel.
  • To improve supply of farm credit, the target for agricultural credit has been increased to 9 lakh crore for FY17, with a provision of Rs 15,000 crore towards interest subvention.
  • The allocation under the MGNREGS has been enhanced from 34,700 crore to 38,500 crore in FY17. This is expected to provide an additional safety net for the rural workforce during the non-harvest season.

Is it enough?

Finance Minister, in his budget speech, talked about doubling farm income in the next five years. While this promise is certainly laudable, the blueprint to achieve this appears doubtful—at least going by the numbers in this budget.

While the budget of the ministry of agriculture has been enhanced from Rs.17,000 crore in the last budget to Rs.36,000 crore now, most of this increase has been in the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana and interest subsidy on short-term credit to farmers. Excluding these two programmes, the ministry’s budget has been increased only marginally. While the fertilizer subsidy has been cut by Rs.2,438 crore, the amount of expenditure budgeted on irrigation is only Rs.2,340 crore. Besides, the delay in implementation of the National Food Security Act (NFSA) and the reduction in food subsidy by Rs.5,000 crore in this year’s budget do raise concerns on the government’s intention on the NFSA.

But what is required at the time of rural distress is not just long-terms plans of rural rejuvenation and crop insurance but also policies to provide relief in the short run. The announcement for an increase in expenditure on MGNREGA and Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana is welcome in this regard. Both these programmes have not only proved useful in building rural infrastructure, one of the nine pillars mentioned by the finance minister, but they have also been able to generate employment and income for the rural poor.

As against the actual expenditure of Rs.35,766 crore last year, this year Rs.38,500 crore has been allocated for MGNREGA. While this is an improvement over the last year, it is less than the total commitment of Rs.39,000 crore promised by the finance minister last year (Rs. 34,000 crore in the budget with an additional provision of Rs.5,000 crore). Nonetheless, the increase is a welcome step toward recognizing the potential of MGNREGA in reducing distress in rural economy as well as in infrastructure creation. Similar increases in other rural development schemes such as the Indira Awaas Yojana will certainly contribute toward creating demand in rural areas.

While concerns will remain on the ability of this budget to deliver on the promise to revive the rural economy, this budget has certainly shifted the focus of government policy to the crisis in the countryside. This budget may avert the crisis in rural areas and may stop it from worsening, but prudent government policy also requires that some of these measures are backed up with long-term measures to insulate the rural economy from such episodes. This requires re-energizing the rural economy as an engine of growth at a time when other parts of the economy are not doing well.

Agriculture, GS-3, Uncategorized

Demystify plethora of irrigation programmes

Integrated Watershed Management Programme (IWMP)

It is a modified programme of erstwhile:
1. Drought Prone Areas Programme (DPAP),
2.Desert Development Programme (DDP) and
3. Integrated Wastelands Development Programme (IWDP) of the Department of Land Resources.

This consolidation is for optimum use of resources, sustainable outcomes and integrated planning. The scheme was launched during 2009-10.

Main objectives of the IWMP: 
Restore the ecological balance by harnessing, conserving and developing degraded natural resources such as soil, vegetative cover and water.

The outcomes are prevention of soil erosion, regeneration of natural vegetation, rain water harvesting and recharging of the ground water table.

This enables multi-cropping and the introduction of diverse agro-based activities, which help to provide sustainable livelihoods to the people residing in the watershed area.


 

Accelerated Irrigation Benefits Program:
Rationale and Objectives

AIBP was specifically started because a large number of river valley projects – both major and medium – have spilled from plan to plan, mainly because of financial constraints of state govermnents. Some of these projects were in an advanced stage of construction and could provide irrigation benefits in four or five agricultural seasons. The completion of these projects, however, was beyond the resources capability of the State Govermnents.

Assistance Provided
The assistance provided was entirely in the form on loan in the beginning but later a grant component was also added in 2005.

Evaluation of AIBP Programme
Creating irrigation potential and making it actually deliver are two different things. If we look at the CAG and PAC reports, we find that this scheme has neither achieved desired results nor was saved from irregularities. In fact, a 2011 PAC report called it a big scam, bigger than many others.

Why these schemes fail?
Unless there is a strong monitoring system, such schemes easily fall prey to glaring deficiencies and irregularities resulting into time and cost over runs. The key reasons as to why both CAD and AIBP schemes failed to deliver is that the work is confined to construction of the main canal. Unless distributory network is properly in place, the main canal is useless. Poor planning and lack of proper monitoring by Central Water resources ministry has been main reason for these under achievements.


Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana (PMKSY) has been formulated amalgamating ongoing schemes viz.
Accelerated Irrigation Benefit Programme (AIBP) of Ministry of Water Resources, River Development & Ganga Rejuvenation;
Integrated Watershed Management Programme (IWMP) of Department of Land Resources; and
On Farm Water Management (OFWM) component of National Mission on Sustainable Agriculture (NMSA) of Department of Agriculture and Cooperation.

PMKSY is to be implemented in an area development approach, adopting decentralized state level planning and projectised execution, allowing the states to draw their irrigation development plans based on district/blocks plans with a horizon of 5 to 7 years. 

All the States and Union Territories including North Eastern States are covered under the programme.
(special focus on water harvesting, water management and crop alignment for farmers and grass root level field functionaries.)

 

Big Picture, GS-3, Uncategorized

State of Agriculture and Rural Economy

Watch debate here

Summary:

While the government is hopeful of the country being on the road to witness 4% agricultural growth, the challenges are manifold. While the agriculture remains the main occupational sector, rural demand has witnessed a slowdown leading many to point over the simmering agrarian crisis. Agriculture growth rate in India has not crossed 3% in the last two years. However, West Asia has been a star performer in this region with 6% growth rate. It should be noted here that Half of India’s labour is in agriculture. But, there is no suitable agriculture policy yet. Hence, according to experts, the present state of Indian agriculture is largely due to policy paralysis. Unlike most of the western and European countries, more than two crops a year can be grown in India.

Agriculture plays a vital role in India’s economy. Over 58% of the rural households depend on agriculture as their principal means of livelihood. Agriculture, along with fisheries and forestry, is one of the largest contributors to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Agriculture is a state subject. As per estimates by the Central Statistics Office (CSO), the share of agriculture and allied sectors (including agriculture, livestock, forestry and fishery) was 16.1% of the Gross Value Added (GVA) during 2014–15 at 2011–12 prices. During quarter one of 2016, agriculture and allied sectors grew 1.9% year-on-year and contributed 14.2% of GVA. India is the largest producer, consumer and exporter of spices and spice products. It ranks third in farm and agriculture outputs. Agricultural export constitutes 10% of the country’s exports and is the fourth-largest exported principal commodity. The agro industry in India is divided into several sub segments such as canned, dairy, processed, frozen food to fisheries, meat, poultry, and food grains.

Farm crisis in India is deepening, mainly due to back-to-back monsoon failures and falling crop prices. One indicator of the growing agrarian distress is farmer suicides. The current year has seen farmers even in states like Karnataka, Odisha and Madhya Pradesh take their lives. The primary factor behind this distress is the weather. Last year’s kharif production was affected by a deficient monsoon, while the standing rabi crop suffered damage from unseasonal rain and hailstorms. The monsoon has been poor this year as well. Many states have declared themselves as drought hit and this would qualify them for Central assistance. However, there is delay in visits by central teams to assess the extent of crop damage and release compensation money.

Over the recent past, multiple factors have worked together to maintain growth in the agriculture sector in India. These include growth in household income and consumption, expansion in the food processing sector and increase in agricultural exports. Rising private participation in Indian agriculture, growing organic farming and use of information technology are some of the key trends in the agriculture industry. Several players have invested in the agricultural sector in India, mainly driven by the government’s initiatives and schemes. According to the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP), the Indian agricultural services and agricultural machinery sectors have cumulatively attracted foreign direct investment (FDI) equity inflow of about US$ 2,182 million from April 2000 to June 2015.

Given the importance of the agriculture sector, the Government of India, in its Budget 2015–16, planned several steps for the sustainable development of agriculture. The government has already taken steps to address two major factors (soil and water) critical to improve agriculture production. Steps have been taken to improve soil fertility on a sustainable basis through the soil health card scheme and to support the organic farming scheme ‘Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana’. Other steps include improved access to irrigation through ‘Pradhanmantri Gram Sinchai Yojana’; enhanced water efficiency through `Per Drop More Crop’; continued support to Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) and the creation of a unified national agriculture market to boost the incomes of farmers.

The Government of India recognises the importance of microirrigation, watershed development and ‘Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchai Yojana’; thus, it allocated a sum of Rs 5,300 crore (US$ 815 million) for it. It urged the states to focus on this key sector. The state governments are compelled to allocate adequate funds to develop the agriculture sector, take measures to achieve the targeted agricultural growth rate and address the problems of farmers.

The Department of Agriculture and Cooperation under the Ministry of Agriculture has inked MOUs/agreements with 52 countries including the US. In addition, the Department of Agriculture Research & Education (DARE) and the Department of Animal Husbandry, Dairying & Fisheries (DAHD&F) under the Ministry of Agriculture have signed MOUs/agreements with other countries, taking the number of partnerships with other countries to 63. These agreements would provide better agricultural facilities in areas such as research and development, capacity building, germ-plasm exchange, post-harvest management, value addition/food processing, plant protection, animal husbandry, dairy and fisheries. The agreements could help enhance bilateral trade as well.

The agriculture sector in India is expected to generate better momentum in the next few years due to increased investments in agricultural infrastructure such as irrigation facilities, warehousing and cold storage. Factors such as reduced transaction costs and time, improved port gate management and better fiscal incentives would contribute to the sector’s growth. Furthermore, the growing use of genetically modified crops will likely improve the yield for Indian farmers.