|1st Five Year Plan||
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|| APPENDIX (CH-9)
|| APPENDIX (CH-14)
|| APPENDIX (CH-24)
|| APPENDIX (CH-29)
Major And Minor Irrigation Projects
80. Questions are often raised about (i) the relative place assigned to major and minor irrigation schemes in the Plan, and (ii) the economics of such schemes. There can be no conflict between- major and minor schemes. There are parts of the country in which scope exists for large projects and there are others in which only smaller projects are possible.. Each area should be served by the kind of schemes for which it offers facilities. Large and small projects are thus complementary and not competitive. The Five Year Plan includes eight irrigation projects (including multi-purpose projects but excluding new major irrigation projects mentioned in para 45) costing above Rs. 5 crores each, sixteen costing between Rs. i crore and Rs. 5 crores ; twenty-one costing between Rs. i crore and Rs. 50 lakhs ; and twenty-seven schemes costing between Rs. 50 lakhs and Rs. 10 lakhs each. The area which will be irrigated in the five year period by these projects, is expected to be about eight million acres while about 7 million acres are expected to be irrigated by minor irrigation projects and tube-well schemes included ..in the Plan.
81. The relative advantages and disadvantages of minor and major schemes may be briefly summarised as follows :
Minor schemes are advantageous in that
The disadvantages, on the other hand, are :
Owing to the operation of these causes, a fair proportion of such works are now in various stages of disrepair all over the country. Experience in India is that minor irrigation works can be maintained only if the beneficiaries undertake the obligation for this. At the same time where there are laws imposing such obligations it has not been found possible to enforce them strictly.
82. The advantages of major schemes are :
The disadvantages are the initial high cost and the time they take for execution. The financial aspects vary from region to region.
In so far as the large multi-purpose projects in progress are concerned, their construction has not reached a stage at which final forecasts of financial yields can be made. It can however be stated that these projects can be financially justified only if the following conditions are strictly enforced : (i) There should be strict financial control and costs kept down as low as possible; (u) Betterment contributions should be levied on the areas that will be irrigated , (lii) Water rates should be levied which would be appreciably higher than the rates in the older projects, and more in accordance with present price levels ; (zo) Power generation should be regulated carefully and capital should not be sunk on electric plant much in advance of ascertained needs , and (o) Power should also be sold at economic rates.
Conditions For Inclusion Of New Projects In Future Plans
83. We consider it necessary to prescribe a procedure for determining what new projects should be taken up hereafter and in general for fixing the order of priority of various projects under consideration in different parts of the country. As has been stated earlier, the construction of new irrigation and power project is a matter of national interest and it is necessary to ensure that no large project is undertaken without the State Government concerned satisfying itself that investigations on the project are sufficiently detailed, that the financial forecast is accurate and that funds are available for the execution of the project according to the most economical programme. Only in this manner can we avoid the situation that has arisen in the last few years, under which a number of projects have been simultaneously taken up in different states without careful project reports and financial and other estimates, or an assessment of their aggregate effects on the overall economy of the country.
84. There is no doubt that irrigation and electricity are subjects in the State field of activity and that the State Governments must continue to exercise full initiative in regard to schemes of development. In view, however, of the existing financial position, and other limitationy, it is necessary that the Central Government and State Governments should act together in the implementation of such programmes. The first step in this direction was taken some time ago when the Government of India suggested to the State Governments not to undertake any new commitment for capital expenditure and requested them to obtain the prior concurrence of the Central Government before taking up new projects costing over rupees one crore.
85. For determining the priority of irrigation and power projects inter se, the following broad principles must be observed
(l) A project for inclusion in a plan must have been investigated in_sufficient_detail as provided in the rules issued by the Government of India in 1929, in connection with the preparation of projects the cost of which exceeded the then powers of sanction of provincial Governments (Rs. 50 lakhs). These rules are incorporated in the departmental codes of State Governments, some of whom have also issued additional detailed instructions. It k imperative that before a project is administratively approved by a State Government, all preliminary investigations relating to the availability of water, the broad features of the design, the approximate cost, the availability and suitability of land for irrigation, the ability of the land owners and cultivators to pay the proposed betterment contributions and water charges etc., in the case of irrigation projects, and the probability of finding load for the power to be developed and the necessary machinery etc., for its utilisation in case of power projects, have all been properly carried out and detailed financial statements worked out in accordance with the standard forms prescribed for the purpose. Before according administrative sanction to any project, its economics must be carefully studied and examined by the State Government.
(2) Projects which will add to the food production in the country must receive priority over projects relating to other uses of river waters.
(3) Projects which are more remunerative in direct financial returns, in terms of cost of irrigation per acre or per unit of power generated and in total benefit to the community, and those which would yield quick results should be given preference.
(4) In any power project based on the use of coal, the possibility of using low grade coals, if available in the neighbourhood, must invariably be examined. Similarly the use of middlings from coal washeries etc., should be encouraged for the development of power. I £ is possible now to design furnances to use such low grade high-ash-content coals. These remarks also apply to extension to or replacements of existing power plants.
(5) Region-wise requirements of food and power must receive due consideration, and also the need of backward areas.
86. Having laid down the broad principles which should determine the priority of a project for inclusion in the Plan, we think that an appropriate body should be set up to advise on the relative priority of different projects on an all-India basis after examining the projects and satisfying itself that the schemes have been prepared after detailed investigation, that the estimates are reasonably correct and that the financial forecasts are reliable. Only those schemes would be eligible for consideration which have been fully investigated and are ready for execution. This body should consist of :
(i) A chairman to be appointed by the Government of India. (ii) Additional Secretary, Ministry of Irrigation and Power. (iii) A representative of the Ministry of Finance. (iv) President, Central Board of Irrigation and Power. (v) One engineer not in the service of any government in India.
The Chief Engineer of the State concerned will be co-opted as a member when a project prepared by him is being examined.
87. The procedure to be followed should be as follows :
(i') As soon as a project has been fully investigated and project report prepared, the State Government concerned should send copies of the report and accompanying documents to the Committee.
(ii') The Committee will have the scheme technically examined by the Central Water ana Power Commission in the first instance to see whether :
The Central Water and Power Commission will make its examination of each project in close consultation with the Chief Engineer in charge, and where necessary with officers of the Central Ministry concerned.
(i') A copy of the report of the Central Water and Power Commission should then be made available to the State Government concerned who, if they like, may send a further note to the Committee.
(ii) The Committee will then proceed to examine the scheme and will submit its report to the Government of India.
88. During the next 15 to 20 years, a large number of irrigation and power projects have to be undertaken. Before work can be taken up on any such large project, it is necessary to collect detailed data about the availability of water and the manner in which available supplies vary from year to year and during different periods in the same year. This information, which for proper designs should be available for 30 to 50 years, has to be supplemented with rainfall data of the catchment area, the distribution of rainfall, its intensity, temperature, regeneration in the river etc. Unfortunately, there has been no systematic collection of basic hydrologic data for the rivers of India. State Governments during the last 20 to 30 years have undertaken collection and study of data with reference to individual projects under operation or under consideration but no overall study of a river system or its catchment has been attempted. Lack of hydrologic data can lead to defective designs.
We, therefore, recommend that all State Governments sho tid carry out detailed hydrologic investigations for important river systems. The expenditure on these investigations is small when compared with the benefits likely to be achieved when the river or any part of it is developed. The Central Water and Power Commission should prepare necessary technical instructions for the collection of basic hydrologic data in consultation with the States and the State Governments should set up arrangements for collecting such data.
89. It has been stated in paragraph 23 above that the development of electricity in India has so far been mainly urban, and hardly 10 per cent of the country's population enjoy the benefits of electricity. Under the Plan, large blocks of power will become available for rural areas and State Governments should take steps to see that villagers are enabled to utilize these to the best advantage.
Experience has shown that, given the necessary facilities, the use of electric power for agricultural operations would be popular. As electricity is extended to the villages, there is no doubt that farmers will use it more and more for agricultural operations other than pumping etc., and in the processing of agricultural produce. In this, they should receive assistance from government in the shape of loans to enable them to have their premises fitted with electricity and to buy electric appliances for work now done by animal or manual labour. A scheme similar to that introduced by the Rural Electric Administration of the U. S. A. will have to be introduced under which long term loans should be given to village co-operatives for rural electrification and development. Electricity will also assist cottage industries. It was estimated in 1942 that about 12,000 power looms were operating in the villages of undivided India of which more than half were in the then Bombay Presidency. The total number of handlooms in India in 1942 was estimated at 200 times the number of powerlooms. If power can be supplied over a small proportion of these their production would increase. Loans should be made available for such purposes as well.
90. There is a special advantage in the encouragement of agricultural load. It has been estimated that the utilisation of one kW of power in industry requires an investment of about Rs. 3,000 On the other hand, the utilisation ofi kW of electric power in agriculture, requires a much smaller capital investment of about Rs. 1,200 per unit. Apart from this, most of the equipment required can be produced in the country and its operation does not require technical skill of a high order.
91. We have elsewhere dwelt in detail on the need for arousing public enthusiasm for and securing public co-operation in the implementation on the Plan. ' Here it is proposed to refer more specifically to the special aspects of public co-operation in connection with the development of major irrigation, and power projects. What is essential is that the people in every area should feel that the project included in the Plan is their ownintended for improvement of conditions in their areaand that they should make special sacrifices for getting it completed. The ways in which such public co-operation can be obtained vary from region to region and it should be the aim of State Governments to see that this is secured in the largest measure possible. We have already referred to the levy of betterment contribution. Large schemes cannot be financed unless this principle is accepted and adequate levies are made towards the capital cost. It is estimated that under a suitable system between one-third and one-fourth of the capital cost of a project can be recouped by betterment levies. The levy of betterment contribution in the form of land from the larger holdings will also be useful. By this means, it will be possible to obtain lands needed for community use, for village forests and grazing, markets, etc., to bring about consolidation of holdings ; to find lands for assignment to landless labourers and in other ways to effect improvement in the agricultural economy of the villages commanded by the project.
92. There is also another way in which the traditional methods of carrying out such projects can be improved. In framing estimates for works like a canal system, on which unskilled labour is employed, the rule should be to fix the rates on the basis that work is done by the villagers on the canals in their own villages, and not on the basis of work being let to contractors, large or small. Villagers should be organised in co-operatives for taking up such work. By tlus means there will be appreciable reduction in the cost and the labour force in the villages will benefit by the payments made. The State Government and local leaders should devote their best efforts to the task of obtaining local co-operation in as many forms as possible in the execution of large projects. The Planning Commission held discussions on this subject with officers of the Punjab Government connected with the Bhakra-Nangal Project and a beginning has been made with the introduction of this system for the excavation of Bhakra canals. The Bombay and the Madras Governments have this system in operation on some of their projects. The Rajasthan and the Madhya Bharat Governments have agreed that this system will be adopted throughout the canal system of the Chambal Valley Project. Other states have also accepted the principle and the Planning Commission hopes that this will become a normal feature in all large projects.
93. In paragraph 75 above, we have given some suggestions for making the most economic use of available irrigation supplies. Most of these suggestions can be adopted only with a large measure of public co-operation and all efforts must be made to arouse public enthusiasm to use the water provided by the State irrigation works to maximum advantage.
94. It is not fully appreciated that private irrigation works have in the past made a substantial contribution to the development of irrigation in India. There is no doubt that large irrigation projects should be executed by States but every effort should be made to encourage associations of landholders or village co-operatives to undertake small irrigation schemes, tanks, etc., for purposes of irrigation. Out of 50 million acres that are irrigated annually in India (see Table 2) about 13 million acres are irrigated by private wells and 2 million acres by private canals. In the chapters on Agricultural Development we have made our proposals for new developments in this field. There is, however, an important aspect which we would like to refer here. A fairly large proportion of these private irrigation works, which generally comprise village tanks and small canals are allowed to fall out of repair or disuse for a variety of reasons among which are disputes among owners, and village factions. In recent years large sums of public money have been spent in different parts of the country in resuscitating these old abandoned private irrigation works. The Plan also provides for substantial assistance in this direction. It is important in the national interest that all private irrigation works which are now being constructed or resuscitated should continue to be maintained with a reasonable standard of efficiency. The co-operation of the people must be sought in this endeavour. The methods to be adopted for securing the continued efficiency of these private irrigation works must vary from one part of the countryto another. We recommend that States should take effective steps in this matter, if need be by promoting legislation for this purpose in accordance with local conditions.
95. For the successful implementation of any power project, a large measure of public co-operation is in all cases necessary for building up the load for the utilisation of the power generated. Apart from this, in the case of some industries it is considered advisable and at times advantageous for the industry to have its own generating plant. It may be possible to integrate such power houses or in any case the surplus capacity of such power houses with the nearest public electric supply undertaking to the mutual advantage of both the industry and the electricity undertaking.
IRRIGATION AND POWER
table I List of Principal Irrigation Works of India (referred to in paragraph 13)
Area Cultivated and Irrigated in (referred to in paragraphs)
(Figures in Cols. 3 to 13 are in thousands of acres)
Area Cultivated and Irrigated in '(Referred to in paragraphs)
Figures are for the-year 1948-49.
(Figures in Col. 15 are in thousands of acres)
"Figures are for the year 1950-51
3 Major (Existing ) Power Stations in India (Public utilities
only as on
Table 4 Per capita Use of Electricity in the States of India (Referred to in paragraph 22)
Table 5 Irrigation and Power Projects in the Five Year Plan Abstract
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