Moving promptly on its agenda, the Ministry of Water Resources has initiated the process of bringing in its first big ticket scheme under the new government headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The ministry is preparing a cabinet note and holding inter-ministerial consultations on the proposed Pradhan Mantri Gramin Sinchayee Yojana to increase irrigated land in the country. The proposed scheme was a key element of the BJP manifesto’s segment on water security.
According to ministry sources, the scheme is being discussed with other concerned ministries and their suggestions are being sought before it is taken to the Cabinet. The progress on this proposal has taken place within a week of Water Resources minister Uma Bharti taking charge.
“Broad contours have been laid down and now other ministries are being consulted before going to the Cabinet. The idea is to generate more irrigation potential, which would lead to greater productivity and hence, higher income for farmers. An incentive structure for states to enhance the irrigation cover and complete pending irrigation projects will also be weaved in,” a ministry official said.
The section on water in the BJP manifesto gave top priority to this scheme, placing it above other focus areas like ground water recharge and inter-linking of rivers.
Meanwhile, a key move of setting up a single permanent tribunal to settle inter-state water disputes, initiated under the previous government, seems to have slowed down with the Law ministry returning the cabinet note to the Water Resources ministry for approval of its new minister. Ministry officials say the entire process of consulting other relevant ministries and seeking their suggestions will have to be conducted once again with new ministers at the helm.