Urging farmers to adopt alternatives to water-intensive crops such as paddy and sugarcane, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday said farmers in areas where groundwater level is very low should make a water budget.
“Our farming is heavily dependent on irrigation from groundwater. A lot of water is wasted in our old methods of irrigation. There are crops such as sugarcane and paddy which are water-intensive. It has been found that wherever such crops are grown, the groundwater level decreases rapidly. To change this situation, we have to make farmers aware of rainwater harvesting and alternative crops. We should move towards micro-irrigation. We have to promote Per Drop, More Crop,” he said after launching Atal Bhujal Yojana, aimed at improving management of groundwater in seven states, on the occasion of the birth anniversary of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
Modi requested people of every village to make a water action plan and create a water fund.
The total budget of the scheme is Rs 6,000 crore out of which Rs 3,000 crore will be contributed by the World Bank. It aims to benefit nearly 8,350 gram panchayats across 78 districts in 7 states — Gujarat, Haryana, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh. Under the scheme, money will be given to the states as a grant.
The Prime Minister said there is a provision in Atal Jal Yojana under which better-performing gram panchayats will get more allocation.
Modi also released operational guidelines of Jal Jeevan Mission on the occasion. He said that on one hand, Jal Jeevan Mission will work towards delivering piped water supply to every home and on the other, Atal Jal Yojana will pay special attention to areas where groundwater is very low.