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Haryana Govt Begins Climate-Smart Agriculture Practices in 1,669 Villages

Due to the dire need for groundwater, particularly for the cultivation of sugarcane on more than 2.5 lakh acres spread across 85 blocks in 19 districts of Haryana, the BJP-led government has started implementing climate-smart agricultural practices in 1,669 villages across 36 blocks.

Shivam Dwivedi
The government offers the option of using the treated wastewater for micro-irrigation
The government offers the option of using the treated wastewater for micro-irrigation

The government reports that micro-irrigation has increased the yield of fruits and vegetables by 52%, and it is now bearing fruit after only a year. According to official statistics, the Atal Bhujal Yojna programme has helped 19,517 beneficiaries choose drip, mini-sprinkler, and portable sprinkler systems on 58,000 acres where installing micro-irrigation systems is required because the water depth has dropped to 100 feet.

The Micro Irrigation and Command Area Development Authority (MICADA), which was given the work in December 2020 to restore watercourses, is receiving a subsidy of Rs 450 crore this fiscal year to install micro-irrigation on one lakh acres. This work was previously performed by the Department of Irrigation and Water Resources. The government offers the option of using the treated wastewater for micro-irrigation in light of the fact that many water sources are becoming more polluted and the ecosystems that provide water are vanishing.

An official spokesperson told the media on February 26 that at least 22 projects worth roughly Rs 500 crore are currently under construction and should be finished by June 2024. There are currently 170 sewage treatment plants and common effluent treatment plants operating in the state, producing 1,985 MLD of wastewater daily. 187 MLD of treated water has been used as of this writing for non-drinking purposes.

3,041 out of 7,287 villages, according to the Haryana Water Resources Authority (HWRA), are experiencing groundwater stress. 1,948 of them are under extreme stress. According to government estimates, producing one kilogramme of sugar requires 2,000 litres of water on 2.5 lakh acres of sugarcane cultivation. Flood irrigation can require up to 1.78 crore lakh litres of freshwater in total for one crop cycle of sugarcane.

Micro-irrigation systems can be used to reduce the amount of water needed instead of traditional flood irrigation, and studies show that crops grown using these systems may have a sugar recovery rate that is up to 1% higher. In his Budget speech for 2023–2024 last week, Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar proposed to cover two lakh acres with sugarcane cultivation and micro-irrigation systems in three years.

1,000 recharge borewells and rooftop rainwater harvesting structures have been built to use treated wastewater for micro irrigation, and 2,000 more of these structures are expected to be finished in the upcoming fiscal year. According to the spokesperson, damaged watercourses older than 20 years are being repaired first and their length is being increased in order to increase irrigation efficiency.

In his address to the House on the first day of the Assembly's budget session, Governor Bandaru Dattatreya stated that an investment of Rs 1,500 crore is being made to increase the capacity of the entire Western Jamuna Canal (WJC) system, and that after its implementation the state will receive an additional 4,000 cusec of water during the monsoon. He claims that Haryana has spent more than Rs 2,500 crore on the rehabilitation or renovation of about 500 channels, strengthening the canal network.

For 2023–24, this Budget suggests allocating Rs 6,598 crore for irrigation and water resources, a rise of 29.2% over the current year's revised estimates. Under the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Urja Surksha Evam Utthan Mahabhiyaan, the government is implementing a scheme for the installation of solar pumps with a 75% subsidy, including a 30% central financial assistance, to meet the irrigation requirements and reduce input costs (PM-KUSUM).

Given the popularity of the programme, the Chief Minister, who also serves as the Finance Minister, suggested in his Budget Speech setting a target for the installation of 70,000 solar pump sets in 2023–2024 as opposed to the 23,966 solar pump sets that are being installed in 2022–2023. The Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana's Per Drop More Crop (PDMC) component is receiving an 85% subsidy through MICADA, the organisation in charge of promoting and developing water conservation infrastructure.

About 2000 on-farm water tanks were built in 2022–2023, and the one lakh acre culturable command area- the area that can be irrigated from a scheme- has been brought under micro irrigation. The Budget Speech states, "In 2023-2024, I propose to bring 2.5 lakh acres of culturable command area and to build 4,000 on-farm water tanks." According to UN predictions, countries with water shortages will be home to two-thirds of the world's population by 2025.

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