|8th Five Year Plan (Vol-2)||<<
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Agricultural and Allied Activities || Rural Development and Poverty Alleviation || Irrigation, Command Area Development and Flood Control || Environment and Forests || Industry and Minerals || Village and Small Industries and Food Processing Industries || Labour and Labour Welfare || Energy || Transport || Communication, Information and Broadcasting || Education, Culture and Sports || Health and Family Welfare || Urban Development || Housing, Water Supply and Sanitation || Social Welfare || Welfare and Development of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes || Special Area Development Programmes || Science and Technology || Plan Implementation and Evaluation
IRRIGATION, COMMAND AREA DEVELOPMENT AND FLOOD CONTROL
3.1.1 Availability of adequate, timely and assured irrigation is a critical determinant of agricultural productivity. Over the past 40 years around Rs.45,000 crores have been directly invested by the public sector in various categories of water control works- about Rs. 28,000 crores of it in major and medium irrigation works (including Command Area Development); Rs. 14,500 crores in minor irrigation, and Rs.2,500 crores in flood control. Table-1 summarises the position.
Table-1 Magnitude and Composition of Investment Through Plan periods in Irrigation and Flood Control Sectors
Source : Reports of Working Group on Eighth Five Year Plan on Malor and Medium Irrigation, Minor-Irrigation , Command Area Development and Flood Control
3.1.2 Besides the above, there had been other direct investments from the public sector mainly as subsidies to minor irrigation development through other programmes.
3.1.3 Taking the last four decades as a whole, the public and the publicly funded outlays in irrigation and flood control sector have risen steadily and there has been corresponding increase in physical benefits as given in Table- 2 below.
Review of Major and Medium Irrigation
3.2.1 The Statement 3.1 gives the Statewise review of outlay and expenditure during the Seventh Plan and during 1990- 91 and 1991-92. The average annual outlay on major and medium irrigation projects (including CAD) has risen from around Rs. 75 crores in the First and Second Plans to nearly Rs. 2,500 crores in the Seventh Plan. The corresponding addition to potential has, however, been between two to three million hectares per five year plan with the exception of Second Plan (1.05 m.ha.) and Fifth Plan (4.02 m.ha.). The average cost per hectare of potential created has, thus, risen steeply from around Rs. 1060 during the First Plan to over Rs. 42,700 in the Seventh. Among the factors that have reportedly contributed to such increase in real costs are the following: availability of comparatively better sites for construction in earlier Plans; inadequate preparatory surveys and investigations leading to substantial modifications in scope and design during construction; the tendency to start far too many projects than can be accommodated within the funds available for irrigation; extension of distribution system from 200 ha. block to 40 ha. block and further to to 5-8 ha. block at project cost; larger provision for measures to rehabilitate people affected as well as for preservation of environment and ecology; revision of hydrology following the Machchhu Dam disaster in 1979; and adoption of more sophisticated but expensive criteria for irrigation project planning in conformity with requirements of external aid agencies. The precise contribution of each of these factors to the observed increases in real costs is not clearly established. But inordinate delays in completing the projects are a well recognised fact.
Table - 2 Development of Irrigation Potential through Plan period
Source : Reports of Working Group on Eighth Five Year Plan on Major and Medium Irrigation and Minor Irrigation.
3.2.2 The biggest single malady in the major and medium irrigation sector right from the First Plan has been the continued tendency to start more and more new projects resulting in wanton proliferation of projects, thin spreading of resource and consequent time and cost overruns. Though all the Plans, without exception, declared their intention to give priority to complete the ongoing schemes, the addition of new schemes continued unabated. Table-3 summarises the Plan-wise number of new major and medium irrigation projects started.
3.2.3 At the end of the Seventh Plan, there were as many as 182 major, including the mega, projects like Sardar Sarovar, Indira Gandhi Nahar and Indira Sagar Projects and 312 medium ongoing irrigation projects requiring, according to latest estimates, a huge amount of Rs.39,044 crores (at the 1990-91 price level) to complete them. A list of on- going major and medium irrigation projects is at Statement 3.2. The frequency distribution of expenditure incurred up to the end of Seventh Plan on such ongoing major and medium projects is as given in Table-4.
3.2.4 Given this background, the option during the Eighth Plan is clear : not to take up any new projects unless the needs of the ongoing ones are fully met. Even among the ongoing projects, there should be emphasis on completion of projects which are in an advance stage i.e. those projects with an expenditure level at 75 per cent or more. In respect of bigger projects, which cannot be completed during the Eighth Plan, we must envisage a sub- project approach on the five years' time slice basis on a critical review of remaining works. Action programme should be drawn up by States with a fixed timeframe not only for expeditious completion of ongoing projects but also for achieving better utilisation from completed projects.
Table-3 No. of new schemes taken up in different Plans
Source : Report of the Working Group on Eighth Five Year Plan on Major and Medium Irrigation
Distribution of projects by extent of expdr. already incurred
3.2.5 It has also become imperative to tighten the standards of project preparation and design which should be satisfied before proposals qualify for appraisal. In particular, there is need to pay much greater attention at the planning stage to systematic surveys of soil conditions, land use capability, crop water requirement, irrigation efficiency, and conjunctive use of surface and ground water to ensure that the command area, the distribution network and crop patterns are based on firm data and are mutually consistent. The impact of a proposed project by way of displacement of people, submergence of forests and other environmental features need to be explicitly taken into account with necessary compensatory or corrective action built into the project design. The project proposal submitted for approval must also examine various options for use of water in a project and choose the optimal alternative keeping both efficiency and equity in view.
3.3.1 The Statewise position of irrigation benefits from major and medium irrigation projects is given in the Statement 3.3. One of the most widely discussed features of major and medium irrigaion works is the lag between the creation of potential and its utilisation. Table-5 summarises the position in this respect at the end of successive Plans.
3.3.2 According to these data the rate of utilisation in terms of increments to area actually irrigated in addition to capacity during Fifties was about 78% and reached close to 92% in the next decade. But during the Seventies the increase in actual area irrigated comprised only 59% of the additional potential created followed by an improvement in the Eighties to around 80 percent.
3.3.3 However, the above data does not give a correct picture of utilisation of irrigtion potential. This is becuase different States adopt different criteria for reporting. For example, Kerala reports the same figure for potential utilisation and creation. Maharashtra gives the utilisation as achieved and irrigated, while U.P gives the maximum area irrigated since inception during any Rabi or Kharif period. A correct picture can emerge only if the States follow the criteria laid down by the Planning Commission in 1973.
Potential created and utilised from Major and Medium Projects
: Report of the Working Group on Eighth Five Year Plan on Major and
3.3.4 On the other hand, estimates of irrigation potential and its utilisation are themselves open to question. There are differences in the interpretation of the concept by the reporting agencies. The system of monitoring and verifying information provided by executing agencies on both potential and actual irrigation is inadequate and casual and there are susbtantial reporting and compilation errors in the data. The traditional system of compiling data on land use, irrigation and cropping by the village Patwari which in principle provides an independent source of data has deteriorated. The potential area which can be irrigated in a system depends on several factors including, besides the availability of distribution networks, the volume and seasonal pattern of water supply, the losses in conveyance, distribution and application, the extent to which the conjunctive use is developed and the crop pattern on ground. In so far as the assumptions in respect of these parameters, underlying the project design, are not realised in full, there is bound to be a divergence between the actual area irrigated and the potential created. There is considerable evidence to show that the crop patterns actually adopted by farmers are often much more water-intensive than assumed and this is one important reason why the actual area irrigated is less than the designed potential. In judging the performance of irrigation systems, we should move away from potential or actual area irrigated and instead focus on the amount of water made available through a system, both overall and in each main crop season, the frequency and predictability of water supply and its effect on cropping intensities, crop patterns and yields.
3.3.5 A lag of a few years between the introduction of irrigation and its full utilisation is unavoidable as it takes time for the farmers to construct the field channels and to prepare the land for irrigated farming. Also the switch over from rainfed agriculture to irrigated agriculture involves a major change in agricultural techniques which farmers take time to master. But even allowing for these, the pace of utilisation has been far too slow. This has been generally attributed to delays in the construction of distribution network, especially field channels and in getting the command areas properly prepared for effective use of water.
Command Area Development
3.4.1 The Command Area Development Programme (CADP) started in 1974-75 as a Centrally Sponsored Scheme, envisaged execution of on-farm development works like field channels, land levelling, field drains and conjunctive use of ground and surface water; the introduction of Warabandi, or the rotational system of water distribution to ensure equitable and timely supply of water to each holding; and evolving and propagating crop patterns and water management practices appropriate to each command area. Other ancilliary activities like construction of link roads, godowns and market centres, arrangements for supply of inputs and credits, agricultural extension and development of ground water for conjunctive use are also taken up as part of the relevant sectoral programmes in the State Plan. Initially, the emphasis of the programme was on the development of infra-strucuture required to deliver the water to the farmers' field. At the time of formulating the Sixth Plan, the progress in implementing the full package of on- farm development works was found to be very limited. A variety of constraints were identified. These included: absence of up-to-date land records, resistance of farmers to land consolidation, inadequate flow of institutional credit and organisational weaknesses. Experience had also shown that once the farmers are assured of timely and adequate supply of water, they take up some of the OFD works such as land levelling. By the end of March, 1990, an area of about 4.96 million hectares were under Warabandi; land levelling and shaping had been done on 1.92 million hectares; and field channels constructed for 11.1 million hectares. The Statewise details of outlays and expenditure during Seventh Plan is at Statement 3.4.
3.4.2 On the whole, the scope of CAD programmes has turned out to be considerably narrower than orginally envisaged. The progress in terms of land improvement and develoiyient of drainage facilities has been meagre and-so has the effort and research in evolving and propagating cropping patterns and agricultural practices for optimum use of water under the conditions prevailing in each irrigation command.
3.4.3 There is, therefore, a need to review the approach to command area development in the light of the experience gained so far. A decision has to be taken to include the CAD activities as integral part of the project in the construction, operation and maintenance stages.
3.4.4 Secondly, the organisational and manning arrangements need to be thought out more carefully. A Command Area Development Authority type of arrangement can be considered initially for carrying out the on-farm development works but in close consultation with and involvement of the farmers. Eventually, the farmers can take over the maintenance and operation of the system themselves.
Improvement of Existing Systems
3.5.1 Apart from improving the organisations for promoting speedier and more efficient use of water in the recently completed systems, there is scope and need for improvement of existing systems through substantial investments in rehabilitation and modernisaion such as lining of channels, more and better regulatory structures and communications combined with changes in the way the water deliveries are regulated. This aspect began to receive greater attention during the last decade when the National Water Management Project for modernisation of selected old systems were taken up. These projects now cover systems with a command area of 0.54 million hectares. Considering that about 13 million hectares of irrigated area are from projects completed before Independence and 8 million hectares from schemes completed 25 years ago, there is clearly a case for covering more area under this programme.
3.5.2 Improvement in physical facilities is clearly an essential and important component of such a programme.The old planning and design criteria for the system adopted at the time of formulation of the scheme do not hold good any longer. The modernisation programme undertaken has not picked up adequately. The criteria for review and analysis of existing systems as well as for taking various measures, like engineering, agronomical and administrative-cum-legal, need to be evolved on the basis of modernisaion projects implemented such as Periyar-Vaigai scheme which has been completed with assistance from the World Bank.
3.5.3 The States need to be encouraged and assisted to set up organisations to undertake a proper study of existing systems to identify deficiencies and formulate a specific package suited to the needs of each project.
3.5.4 So far, all the large irrigation systems are wholly State-managed, the deployment of personnel, collection of water rates and allocaions for maintenance of each system being centralised in the State Government. There is very little users' participation. There have, however, been various experiments by official and non-official agencies in organising Farmers' Cooperatives for regulating water allocations, maintenance and revenue collection. These experiments need critical study to evolve a programme to strengthen and extend such cooperative effort.
3.6.1 All irrigation schemes having upto 2000 ha. ofculturable command area have been classified as minor since 1978. Under the new definition all ground water structures are classified as minor irrigation. Ground water development is under private sector to the extent of 90% and is financed by loans from the land development and commercial hanks with re-finance facility from NABARD. The plan funds are used for construction of surface minor irrigation schemes, for provision of technical assistance in case of ground water projects and for payment of subsidy to weaker section of farmers.
3.6.2 As per 1986-87 Minor Irrigation Census, 95 lakh wells, 0.64 lakh deep tubewells and 4.75 lakh shallow tubewells have been dug; 4.22 lakh surface works completed and the number of pumpsets energised rose from 0.2 million in 1950-51 to 11.2 million by 1989-90.
3.6.3 Minor irrigation schemes like dugwells, shallow tubewells, borewells, filter points, small surface water lift up to 10 HP are generally within the reach of individual farmers. The construction period is hardly 15 days to 1 month. The farmer thus becomes the proud owner of his own irrigation system and gets assured supply of water at his command. '
3.6.4 The Plan estimates of potential created by minor works, computed from reports of State Governments are at variance with data compiled by the Minor Irrigation Census from the village records.
Surface Works and Traditional Local Systems
3.7.1 The Minor Irrigation Census of 1986-87 enumerated some 676,000 surface water-based minor works. These include around 178,000 tanks and 96,000 diversion schemes currently in use. The large majority of these have been constructed, maintained and managed by the local communities for several decades and some for centuries. The traditional knowledge and institutional arrangements in respect of these facilities have weakened. The repair of these systems has been neglected by users for various reasons and the State has not paid much attention to these. The capacity of these local systems has been reduced and a large number have, in fact, gone out of use. According to the land use statistics, the area under tank irrigation reached an all-time high of 4.78 million ha. in 1962-63 and progressively came down to 3.07 million ha. in 1985-86. It is clear that the maintenance of tanks is being neglected due to which about 17 lakh ha. area has gone out of irrigation in 15 years. Most of them need substantial investment for renovation and improvement. These traditional works have not received much attention in the last 40 years of planned development. The investments in this area have been meagre and almost exclusively for constructing new works.
3.7.2 There is clearly a strong case for a major effort at renewing and improving the traditional local systems. This can be quite easily fitted into the employment guarantee and other schemes of land and water improvement as part of local area planning by Panchayats with technical help from Irrigation Departments.
3.7.3 It may be wrong to assume that expansion of minor surface storage irrigation is inherently and everywhere superior to large storage systems. Comparison of cost per hectare does not reflect the total picture as it does not allow for differences in the quantum, duration and reliability of water supplies as between large storage systems fed from large catchments and small works depending on small catchments. A more promising approach would be to explore the complementarities between small, local storages and large reservoirs. The integrated operation of these would give greater flexibility at the local level and more scope for meaningful user involvement in management.
3.7.4 Surface lift irrigation schemes are less expensive compared to major, medium or minor surface schemes with storage systems. These can be quickly constructed and can be taken up on individual or cooperative basis. When water is there in canals, drains, streams, rivers and power is also available these should be preferred.
3.7.5 Development of new small scale water control works as part of the integrated watershed development programme holds vast promise. Intergrated watershed development which has to be planned at different levels from small micro watershed covering a village or part of it to large sub-basins and basins provides an effective medium for integrating afforestation, soil conservation and percolation ponds and other moisture conservation works. Such integrated planning helps to make the investments far more effective, functionally and economically than the present fragmented approaches to the problem. But it is also more demanding on both the Government and the beneficiaries.
3.8.1 This is a dependable source provided it is not over-exploited. In most of the States there is no mechanism to keep statistics for the number of wells and area irrigated. The estimates are generally based on reported number of wells of different types constructed, pumps installed and certain norms regarding the area irrigated per work/pumpset of each category. These norms seem to be based on limited surveys and informed judgement, rather than any systematic sample surveys of actual ground reality. The reporting by State agencies may be incomplete in as much as the mechanisms for monitoring the construction/energisation of wells/ tubewells under various programmes are not as comprehensive as they should be, nor do official agencies keep track of developments financed wholly by the farmers. The only figure available is from the Land Use Statistics (LUS) which gives separately the area actually irrigated cy wells and tubewells.
3.8.2 It needs to be noted that the Plan estimates of potential created do not distinguish between the gross area irrigated by groundwater as a sole source and as a supplement to surface works. The Minor Irrigation Census has estimated the extent of supplementary irrigation by works at nearly 2.9 million hectares, representing nearly 10 per cent of the estimated potential of ground water works at that time. This distinction between sole and supplementary irrigation by the wells is unfortuately not observed by most States. To that extent, the estimates of potential reported in the Plan documents are not strictly comparable with those compiled under land use and cropping statistics.
The Role of Financial Institutions
3.9.1 Financial institutions especially NAB-ARD provide substantial loan assistance for development of ground water irrigation. The Working Group for the Eighth Plan has referred to the tact that institutional investment has not been as large as desired mainly due to the deteriorating recovery position. The Group has suggested several steps to improve the situation including (a) preparation of a district-wise loan disbursement plan at the beginning of each financial year covering all the institutions concerned with a special cell to monitor progress;
(b) simplification of the details requirement in the loan application and procedure for processing; (c) strengthening of State Groundwater Boards to provide technical guidance to farmers in hard rock areas and alluvium so that availability of ground water could be certified and technical advice provided during construction and selection ofpumpsets; and (d) vigorous efforts to improve recovery position with State assistance. The Group has also suggested a reorien-tation of subsidy schemes by making it uniform besides measures to extend and improve the supply of power to rural areas; adoption of a scheme for compensation against failed works and improvement of statistics.
3.9.2 Although the share of institutional investment is as large as 40-50 per cent of the total investment in this sector, there does not, at present, exist suitable arrangements/mechanism for effective and close monitoring of the institutional credit at the district level; evaluation/assessment of the benefits achieved vis-a-vis targets; Securing the basic data like the failure rate, yield and cost of wells constructed, actual area brought under irrigation, area under conjunctive use and how much under sole source etc. A more active role by the Ministry of Water Resources, NABARD and fin: i^ng institutions to encourage moic systematic compilation of the bas'u data for planning and monitoring the programmes of ground water irrigation, as well as research and training to improve the quality of planning/implementatiion would be desirable.
Regulations and Development of Ground-water
3.10.1 There are complaints ofoverexploitation of ground water in several parts of the country, reflectred in a progressive deepening of wells and lowering of' the water table. Though a system of classifying areas into different categories (dark, grey and white) according to the the potential for future development is in vogue, the basis of the classification, namely maximum sustainahle rate of exploitation, is in subject of contention. In any case, the actual lending by financial institutions does not seem to be effectively regulated on this basis. The assessment of sustainable yield needs constant refinement and the effectiveness of various methods of regulating the use of ground water from the viewpoint of sustainability and equity needs a fresh critical look. Spacing strictions and other direct regulatory steps such as stopping of loans and refusing electric connection have by and large succeeded but, in the absence of ground water legislation, pockets of over-exploited areas continue to develop. In such areas, progressive deepening of wells continues even though it clearly increases both private and social costs of water. Other solutions, such as community wells, in areas with limited supplies of groundwater and development of water markets in areas where ground-water is abundant, supported by a proper pricing policy stipulating a telescopic structure of tariff for energy to discourage excessive use for pumping need to be explored.
3.11.1 A number of States like UP, Punjab, Haryana, Gujarat, Bihar and West Bengal have taken up a programme of construction of deep large size tubewells, each irrigating an area of 60 to 100 ha. specially of small farmers. More than 60,000 tubewells are in operation, UP alone having about 23,000. Due to non-availability of power, poor operation and maintenance and lack of field channels, these public tubewells are generally under-utilised. Apart from taking various corrective measures, the question of handing over these public tubewells to cooperative societies of users/beneficiaries needs to be explored, taking into account our past experiences including the effectiveness of such schemes for some managerial subsidies for some initial period.
3.11.2 For over a decade, the ultimate ground-water potential for irrigation is estimated at 40 million ha. of gross cropped area, based on availability of 26 million hectare meter (m.ha.m.) of annual replenishable recharge and a crop delta of 0.65 m.ha. Two years ago the Central Ground Water Board made a reassessment and placed the volumetric availability of groundwater for irrigation as 38.30 m.ha.m. and the crop delta at 80 m.ha. which has been designated as tentative and provisional. However, the estimates of ultimate potential for groundwater should clearly distinguish between groundwater as the sole source of irrigation and as a supplementary source in surface irrigated areas. The effect of these on crop intensity, crop patterns and productivity are quite different. In case of supplementary irrigation, by definition, the wells increase gross irrigated area only in so far as they increase the cropping intensity on the area already commanded by the surface water. The latter should not be counted in estimating the area ultimately irrigable from all sources.
3.12.1 Micro irrigation systems such as drip and sprinkler systems have found greater acceptability among the farmers in recent years especially in water scarcity areas. Under Drip irrigation, increases in yield of 60 to 70 per cent on an average have been reported. The input cost of fertilisers, weedicides, pesticides, power and irrigation have been also noted to decrease by as much as 30 per cent. An area of about 16,000 ha has been covered under this system with major concentration in Maharashtra. This is quite negligible compared to the total area under cultivation. Efforts should, therefore, be made towards giving an impetus to these systems in the Eighth Plan. Subsidies may be justified on a temporary basis to popularise these systems.
3.13.1 Groundwater irrigation and all surface water lift irrigation need energy. The Working Group on Minor Irrigation has estimated that in 1989-90 the consumption of electric energy was 44,420 million KW and that of diesel 6127 million litres which will cost about Rs.8500 crores at current prices. All the same, studies indicate that most of the pumping systems have a very low overall efficiency of about 30 per cent. Urgent measures are thus needed for improving efficiency through using fuel efficient engines/ motors and minimising frictional losses in suction and delivery systems. Even a 10 per cent improvement in effeciency can result in a saving of about Rs.800 crores per year.
Water Logging and Salinity
3.14.1 The problem of waterlogging and soil salinity/alkalinity was noticed even during the sixties in a few irrigation projects in the country. The problem has grown since then. The National Commission on Agriculture (1976) estimated that about 6 million ha. of land was affected by water logging, 3.4 million ha. due to surface drainage problems, mainly in West Bengal, Orissa, Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Kerala,Gujarat, Punjab and Haryana and 2.6 million ha. due to higher water table, particularly in Punjab, Haryana, U.P, some parts of Rajasthan and Maharasthra. About 4.5 million ha. were estimated to be affected by salinity and 2.5 million ha. by alklinity. Saline soils include 1 million ha. in arid and semi-arid regions of Rajasthan and Gujarat and 1.4 million ha. in black cotton soils. The alkali soil problem is mainly in U.P., Punjab and Haryana. It is reported that the spread of conjunctive use of groundwater with that of surface water, especially in Punjab, Haryana and parts of U.P., has substantially lowered the water table and helped contain water logging/salinity. But there has been no systematic or comprhensive survey so far.
3.14.2 Waterlogging and salinity/alkalinity should be treated as a national menace and tackled at two levels: (1) There should be a systematic survey to assess the extent, nature and location of the water logged and saline/alkaline lands in existing project commands; and (2) a phased programme should be taken up to reclaim such land and restore them to their potential in a cost-effective manner. In respect of new projects, it is imperative to ensure that necessary drainage works are, in fact, made an integral part of the project and coordinated simultaneously with the main project works. Simultaneously the planning of water use and management needs ismprovement: In particular, cropping patterns must be planned with due regard to soil and drainage conditons; the potential for conjunctive use of groundwater should be fully exploited and farmers educated to prepare their lands for proper irrigation existing projects.
Incidence of Flooding and Its Impact
3.15.1 An area of 40 million ha., i.e., nearly one-eighth of the country's geographical area, is flood prone. The total area affected annually on an average is about 7.7 million ha. The cropped area affected annually is about 3.5 million ha. and was as high as 10 million ha. in the worst year. On an average as many as 1439 lives are lost every year c'<:e to floods. As many as 11,316 lives were lost in 1977 alone. The total loss on account of flood damages to crops, houses, cattle, and public utility was estimated at Rs. 26,800 crores during the period 1953-87. Maximum flood damage was estimated to be of the order or Rs. 4059 crores in 1985.
3.15.2 Between 1954 and 1989 roughly Rs. 2500 crores have been invested in flood control works consisting primarily of construction of new embankments (15600 km.); drainage channels (33100 km); afforestation to save 400 towns; and raising 4700 villages above flood level. Altogether an estimated 135 million ha. have been protected by these measures. The Statewise outlays and expenditure on flood control works during the Seventh Plan and Annual Plans 1990-91 and 1991-92 are given in Statement 3.7.
3.16.1 Flood forecasting and early warning to affected areas are among the most important and cost-effective measures for flood management. The Central Water Commission has set up a network of flood forecasting and warning stations on most of the inter-State rivers in the country. The forecasting network needs to be extended to other flood-prone rivers, ensuring the close coordinaion and effective participation of India Metereology Department, National Remote Sensing Agency, Indian Space Reseach Organisation for utilising the remote sensing technique and telemetry. The existing arrange ments, to make the forecasts reach the people in advance of the actual water, need to be strengthened. Currently, 157 flood forecasting stations are in operation and nearly 5500 flood forecasts are issued every year. But many imporant flood prone rivers/tributaries are yet to be covered.
Integrated Approach for Flood Management
3.16.2 Flood management schemes need to be planned within the framework of an integrated long-term Plan and in conjunction, where appropriate, with the plans for other water resource development such as irrigation, power and domestic water supply. This will help increase the effectiveness of flood control schemes and may also significantly improve their economic viability. The Central Government has set up two bodies for comprehensive planning of flood control in the lower Ganges and the Brahmaputra basins. The Ganga Flood Control Commission and the Brahmaputra Board have prepared and submitted their Master Plans and detailed reports for some projects. Both the Plans emphasize the need for integrated catchment area treatment. The concerned authorities will have to ensure timely preparation of detailed catchment area plans and to monitor its implementation. Considerable further work is required in operationalising the Brahmaputra Flood Control Master Plan. Similarly, detailing is required for the Ganga Flood Control Plan. High priority should be given to the development of such operational plans giving detailed designs for specific projects, their sequencing and priorities.
Evaluation of Completed Flood Control Schemes
3.17.1 In the immediate future conventional works, such as embankments, drainage channels, and flood zoning will continue. There is scope to improve the effectiveness of these investments both from the technical and economic viewpoint. For this, it is essential to undertake a critical evaluation of complete flood management projects to assess the actual benefits, in terms of extent and quality of protection offered in relation to assumptions made in the project report as well as the structural behaviour of the works carried out vis-a-vis design assumptions. , Such evaluation would also reveal administra- * live and technical lacunae, the correction of which should be the first concern of flood management strategy in the Eighth Plan.
3.17.2 The other aspects, quite vital to such a plan of action, are maintenance of such works, their cost effectiveness and continuoii:- R and D effort particularly for improving the cost-effectiveness of designs as these are, at present, prepared mostly on empirical basis. The non-plan resources position fur the maintenance of flood control works being what it is now, availability of non-plan resources from the States can not be expected to improva further. This has to be addressed to the State and Centra! Governments alike. The people's participation in this area coul.l go a long v/a) in alleviating the problem of resources constraint being presently faced by the States.
Brahmaputra Flood Control Board
3.17.3 The Brahmaputra and Barack basin are effected fllods in the country. For preparing a Master Plan tor flood control and its implementation, the ' Government of India under an Act of Parliament constituted the Brahmaputra Board in 1980.
Some Broader issues
National Water Policy
3.18.1 The National Water Policy sets out clearly the ftind.iinental principles which should govern water cesou.'-- e planning. The Policy emphasises that many of our rivers are bountiful and if, properly ii.'irncssed, can meet adequately the requirements ufthe people living in the basin and still have something left over for others less-fortunately placed. There is, therefore, scope for transferring waters from one river basin to another with a view to meeting the requirements of water-short areas. This gives real content to the concept of water as a national resource.
3.18.2 Some limited progress has been made in basin-wise planning under the auspices of the Central Water Coiiip.;iss;on, the Ganga basin water studies organisation has in 1987 prepared a report on "Ganga Basin: Water Resources Development - A Perspective Plan" and the Sone River Commission has completed a comprehensive plan for irrigation and power development in the the Sone basin. The Brahmaputra Board has completed an outline of a Master Plan for utilisation and development of water resourcesHood control, power generation and irriga-i,^n in the Brahmaputra and Barak basins. During the eighties, a number of State Governments h;ive reportedly prepared Master Plans for water r-'-ources development in their regions by river S-:.<:. ins.
3.18.3 The National Water Development Agency, set up in 1982, has been doing useful studies on the possibilities of inter-basin transfers. So far, prelimiary studies in respect of 85 river basins have been prepared and circulated ami ; concerned States. While this work is inilK)rtant, differences of opinion on whether and on what scale scope exists in a particular rivci basin for transfer to others cannot be satisfactorily resolved unless the possibilties of effective and economic use within each basin have been properly investigated. For this reason, tli;- strengthening of the organisation and com-p Ictice for river basin planning and preparation 01" master plans for each river basin must be ^;>\ ,11 much greater attention.
3.19.1 Concern over the environmental impact of in i^auou and power projects centres around the rapid siltation of reserviors arising from failure to check erosion in catchment areas; submergence of economically and ecologically valuable forests and large-scale displacement of people by the reserviors; dangers of over-exploitation of groundwater and of damage to cultivated land due to indiscrimiante use of irrigation water. There is growing awareness of these problems, thanks largely to the environmental organisations. But a great deal remains to be done to ensure that preventive/corrective action is given sufficient attention in design and implementation of projects. It is necessary to make sure that the crop and water use patterns are planned vvilh due care and after proper investigation so that water logging can be prevented. The appraisal process should also make sure that the project design provides for the disturbance of existing population settlements and forest cover to the minimum possible level within the available alternatives.
3.19.2 There is a need for treatment of various catchments, along with the development of water resources in the country which would bestow benefits, among others, by way of decrease in sedimentation, moderation of floods and increase in land fertility. A holistic approach should be followed in the formulation of project report. Measures for the catchment area treatment for areas upstream of the dam should also be clearly indicated in the project reports. Committed voluntary agencies/NGOs, with proven track record, may be associated as interface between State Forest Department and local village communities for revival, restoration and development of degraded forests in the catchment area. Forest communities and nearby villages should be motivated to identify themselves with the development and protection of forests from which they derive benefits. Environment monitoring of the catchment area will have to be undertaken hereafter as a sustained activity in the context of basin management.
3.19.3 The project designers should try for rehabilitation of displaced persons in the command area and the beneficiaries must make sacrifice by sparing part of their lands for this purpose. The process of decision-making on these projects also needs to be made more open so that the public at large and, in particular, those directy affected by a project can have access to more information about the assumptions and calculations on which a project is judged by the authorities to be technically and economically viable; satisfy themselves that sufficient safeguards have been built into the project to take reasonable care of those who are affected by the projects and also the potential adverse ecological consequences flowing from the construction of the project and its operation; and give them an opportunity to place their objections and concerns before the concerned authorities along with concrete suggestions for alternative, cheaper/safer ways of achieving the objectives which the project is supposed to serve.
3.20.1 In different socio-political set-ups throughout the world, there has been one common feature in irrigation water management in so far as the active participation of users in the overall management of irrigation water is concerned. Therefore, more than setting targets in terms of numbers, potential, etc., the perspective of irrigation water management in future should be based on the vision of an equitable and sustainable irrigated agriculture with the farmer being central to all considerations. Different types of model of water users' association have been functioning like Pipe Committees in And-hra Pradesh, the PHAD System Model, Mohini Users' Cooperative of Gujarat, Sinchai Panchayat in Madhya Pradesh, Water Users Association in Lower Bhavani Project in Tamil Nadu. According to the survey carried out by the Ministry of Water Resources, a total area of 2.34 lakh ha. is being managed by various water users. The success story in Lower Bhavani Project and Mohini Cooperative System ' ave not led to proliferation of such users' assocL.ion even in the adjoining areas. Various reasons have been attributed for this, like the quality of servicing of irrigation water, land reforms, economic force and land and administrative backup. The quality of irrigation service is required to be made reliable in terms of quantity space and time. Land reforms, whether by giving right to the tenants or by consolidation of holdings or by some structural measures like land levelling/ shaping, are often the best means for tackling the conflicts arising out of irrigation water use. Another means for generating popular response to the participation of people in water management is by giving incentive in the form of rebate to the water users' association. A legal framework to transfer the management of irrigation to water users may also be considered.
Pricing of Water
3.21.1 It is well known that the water charges collected do not cover even working expenses, not to speak of depreciation charges and contributing even a moderate return on the investments. It is worth noting that just prior to Independence (1945-46) public irrigation schemes showed a surplus ofRs. 7.92 crores after meeting working expenses, interest charges and setting off losses on unproductive works. After independence the position has deteriorated rapidly. According to estimates for 1987-88 the annual loss of irrigation systems amounts to a staggering Rs. 1705 crores. The same estimate shows that the gap between the annual working expense and the gross receipts from water rates stood at over Rs. 400 crores. There has also been reluctance on tht, part of State Govenments to adjust water rates at least in States with rising costs.
3.21.2 Similar problems exist in the case of groundwater irrigation where water-rates reflect only about 1/6th of economic water rateS. Electrie charges for agriculture purposes including pumping of water are also highly subsidised.
3.21.3 This situation, in which the State is investing enormous amounts of public money, largely borrowed, without recouping any part of it, is both inequitable and untenable - inequitable in as much as irrigation increases the productivity of the users and enables them to enjoy, without bearing a reasonable part of the costs, a benefit not available to majority of cultivators and untenable in as much as the failure to recover costs increases the burden on the already severely strained budget and is bound, in course of time to adversely affect the ability of the State to maintain or to continue expanding or even improving irrigation in new areas. The general principle should be to establish an implicit coalition between the interests of the farmer and the irrigation authorities. To the extent it succeeds, it offers subsantial returns to both. In the long run a stable and efficient irrigation system would ensure an adequate water price which the farmer would willingly pay.
3.21.4 In most cases, the irrigation charges are collected by the revenue department in the State, as most other taxes. However, the operation and maintenance is the responsibility of the irrigation department. Therefore, the linkage between the collected water charges and operation and maintenance is not direct since one department collects the charges and another is responsible for managing, maintaining and operating the system. Moreover, it is reported that the farmers do not believe that there is a correlation between water charges and the effectiveness and reliability of the irrigation system. They simply view it as another tax; not a fee for a service.
Science, Technology and Training
3.22.1 The S and T component in water resources sector comprises:
3.22.2 The S and T investment in the irrigation sector, during the Seventh Plan was about Rs. 110 crores. This programme has concentrated mostly on academic research rather than on applied work designed to find viable and economical solutions for practical problems such as evolving more economical techniques for design, construction, operation and maintenance of irrigation projects; flood and drought management; devising better,cheaper methods of investigation, data collection and establishment of data base. Also, we need to consider how best the limited resources of men and finance can be utilised in order to find solutions for problems experienced in implementing the development programmes. The practical issues of immediate concern with a significant bearing on the viability of projects, include: critical review of existing design norms on the basis of the evaluation experience of irrigation projects completed so far; alternative techniques for reducing silt load; control of evaporation and seepage losses; economic techniques for lining. Another point is to be noted is that the S and T input, relevant to minor surface water irrigation and groundwater development, has been somewhat on the lower side. Greater attention needs to be paid to hydrologi-cal data observation for small catchments, standardisation of designs for small earthen dams, surplusing arrangments to dispose of excess flood water and better distribution systems. In the case of groundwater, research is needed on various techniques for groundwater recharge, reliable assessment of various parameters related to groundwater recharge and pumpage; and improving the efficiency of pumpsets. Use of remote sensing, more systematic sample surveys, simpler techniques of measurement capable of being used by personnel without sophisticated skills and ways of involving local educational/research institutes in making the relevant observations are all possibilities to be explored.
3.22.3 The R and D efforts should be a continuous activity. It should not necessarily be confined to the engineering aspect, but should be compatible to social, cultural and economic needs associated with irrigated agriculture. Greater involvement of various R and D institutions, universities, etc. should be consciously promoted. In fact, a symbiotic relation between such institutions and the Government agencies responsible for planning and implementation of water resources projects must be established. In respect of flood control, many States, have State- sponsored river research institutes, but barring a few, these do not contribute much to R and D efforts on a continuing basis. More often such institutes are manned by people of irrigation cadre on a stop-gap arrangement without much motivation and desired expertise.
3.22.4 Another area needing attention is the upgradation of techniques for estimation of parameters, analysis of their relationship and availing of the developments in modelling techniques relevant for systems design/operation. Many issues are involved namely, special training for personnel already in position; encouragement of independent consultancy organisations; fostering of and support for incorprating all these elements in the basic training in engineering colleges/universities, IITs, IIMs and agricultual universities; actively involving the university/ research institutes both in research relevant to better water resource planning and in design of specific projects. A comprehensive review of research/training, both in Government and outside, in the fields related to water resource development will be undertaken in the Eighth Plan to work out a proper programme.
Need for Improvement of Data Base
3.23.1 The lacunae in the data relevant to proper planning of projects, monitoring of the use of irrigation facilities and assessment of their impact have already been indicated. We need to have institutionalised arrangements to compile and update on a continuing basis the data, by basins and sub-basins, on surface and ground-water availability, the quantum used for various purposes and by sources; the spread in conjunctive use and other relevant aspect. This is an essential prerequisite for preparation of integrated long term basin-wise plans for water resource development.
3.23.2 There is also need for a thorough recasting, both at the conceptual and operational level, of statistics on irrigated area and productivity. Each system needs to be encouraged, and helped to compile the detailed data relevant for its management. At the State and national levels, we need to move away from the present patwari based system, which in any case is breaking down. In the case of major and medium systems, we could collate the data from each system but should take care to get not only data on area under irrigation and total area under different crops but also on the quantum of water delivered by season and the number of waterings. In the case of minor works, periodic sample surveys using the frame provided by the Minor Irrigation Census could give more reliable estimates of the changes in the number of different works and update the norms of area actually irrigated by them. Remote sensing could also give an adequate and objective estimate of the area actually irrigated by all surface irrigation projects by season. Both these approaches should be pursued seriously in the Eighth Plan.
3.23.3 The present arrangements for collation of such data and keeping them in an retrieveable form for users need to be improved. Computerisation is helpful, even necessary, but the more important problem is to induce the universities/research institutes who devote so much time and resources and take such pains in collecting data, to match it with systematic analysis of the data.
3.23.4 It is also essential to organise on a regular basis post-evaluation studies for major and medium irrigation projects, compare the actual achievements, in terms of costs, time schedules of construction as well as of water availability, crop patterns, water consumption, irrigation efficiency and yield with the design parameters and systematically analyse the factors contributing to the divergence. Revival of the procedure of preparing completion reports for all major and at least a sample of medium projects deserves serious consideration. Such evaluation studies can serve as a vital input to improve our designs for making them more cost effective and functional.
3.23.5 The present methods of assessing flood damages also need improvement. The available data do not provide a sufficient base for determining the benefit-cost ratio of individual schemes or group of schemes. The Rashtriya Barh Ayog recommended that the State Governments should carry out realistic evaluation of the flood damage, river-basinwise under three separately identified categories, namely, (i) unprotected areas, (ii) protected areas due to failure of protective works and (iii) areas between the' embankment and the river. *
3.23.5 There are at present different departments in the States and different Ministries in the Centre entursted with the collection of flood damage data. This creates some confusion as well as hinders timely collection of flood damage data. The improvement of the present techniques of field collection, assessment, recording and reporting of flood damage statistics is essential to strengthen the base for planning of flood control strategy and priorities.
Strategy for the Eighth Plan
3.24.1 The main elements of the strategy for the Eighth Plan are as follows:-
Major and Medium Irrigation
i) Completion of on-going projects with a strict prioritisation will be the first charge on funds under major and medium irrigation sector. No new projects will be included unless the needs of the on-going projects are fully met, and if at all done, these should be restricted to medium schemes benefitting tribal and draught prone areas and should be designed on the basis of volumetric supply of irrigation water. In case of on-going projects in early stages of construction and in case of new projects, the State Governments will be required to prepare additional plan for rehabilitation and catchment treatment works, a detailed programme of OFD works and a water management plan based on detailed soil surveys and land use capability. The procedure for clearance will be based on the criteria for approval as recommended by Nitin Desai Committee.
ii) Greater user participation in major and medium irrigation projects will be encouraged both at the system level and at local level. This will be extended further for new projects where, even at the planning stage the user's participation will be achieved. Local initiatives by users or non-government organisations to set up users' organisation to manage water below Government outlets will be actively supported by the Government. Greater infraction with and involvement of experts in relevant technical faculties of universities, research institutes in research, design and evaluation of projects will be encouraged.
iii) Besides the emphasis on a good data base and its processing, special post-evaluation studies for periodic monitoring of actual crop patterns, water-use pattern and productivity in all major irrigation cor.;mands and in a few selected medium irrigation commands will be taken up.
iv) The CAD programme in each State will be reviewed to make it a more effective instrument for ensuring speedy transit to irrigated agriculture and optimum use of water.
v) There will be a substantial increase in the scale of programmes for modernisation and improvement of older irrigation systems including minor irrigation to cover as large area as possible during Eighth Plan. The experience of National Water Management Projects will be reviewed so that new projects are better designed and made more cost effective.
Minor Irrigation (Surface water)
vi) Repair and improvement of minor irrigation tanks as well as the development of new works as part of the integrated micro-development projects will be encouraged. These are expected to constitute an important part of the employment-oriented local development works to be implemented by State Government above 100 ha. and by Panchayati Raj below 100 ha. The possibilities of integrating existing or new local storages with the operation of canals fed by large storage reservoirs will also be explored.
vii) Priority should be given for speedy completion of large number of ongoing surface water minor irrigation schemes.
viii) Minor surface water lift irrigation schemes both individually and community owned shall be encouraged where water and energy is available.
ix) In large minor irrigation schemes above 500 ha. or in a group of schemes to make a contiguous block of 500 ha. and abovrf, the CAD concept will also be introduced.'
Minor Irrigation (Groundwater)
x) The basic data on the number of wells of different kinds and area irrigated need to be verified and periodically updated through scientific sample surveys using the information from the Minor Irrigation Census as the bench-mark. There should also be periodic sample verification by the funding agencies to ascertain the extent of non-use of wells, unit costs of various types of groundwater development works and the norms of irrigated area per unit work in different parts of the country.
xi) Over exploitation of groundwater should be discouraged by (i) legislative measures and their implementation, (ii) suitable water and power tariffs, and (iii) directing the loaning programmes to effect proper spacing of tubewells on the basis of studies on geological and other factors affecting ground water recharge. In already affected areas, recharge schemes like percolation tanks, monsoon canals, etc. will be implemented .
xii) In groundwater and lift irrigation, adequate and necessary measures should be taken to increase the overall efficiency of pumping system so as to conserve energy. At the same time use of non-conventional source of energy for pumping like Solar-Wind-Water power will be encouraged.
xiii) In water scarce and drought-prone areas, the installation of sprinkler/drip irrigation system to save water will be given due priority.
xiv) Necessary steps to improve the utilisation of public tubewells and their rehabilitation will be taken alongwith entrusting O and M to beneficiary farmers.
xv) Conjunctive use of surface and ground water will be emphasised, especially in those irrigation commands with large scale water-logging.
Flood Control and Drainage
xvi) There should be a systematic survey to assess the extent, nature and location of water logged, saline/alkaline lands in existing irrigation project commands. Reclamation of such land covering and restoring them to their potential productivity in a cost- effective manner will be a thrust area.
xvii) The coverage of flood forecasting and warning system will be extended to more areas by both State and Central Governments.
xviii)Flood control Master Plans for various basins will be prepared by the State and Central Governments. The Master Plans already prepared for some river basins will need to be detailed further and, if necessary after updating.
xix) State Governments should undertake post-facto evaluation of flood control works on a large scale. On the basis of these evaluation studies, necessary corrective actions on administrative and technical lacunae will be taken.
xx) Maintenance of existing irrigation and flood control works should be given due importance by the States. The people's participation in this area will be encouraged.
xxi) A major effort at improving the quality of irrigation statistics is imperative. Regular sample surveys of the command area of selected projects to determine irrigated areas , crop patterns, yields and water use will be organised. A programme for systematic use of remote sensing to get objective estimates of irrigated area by season, for areas under command of surface systems will be implemented intially on a selective basis, to be made comprehensive and regular in due course.
xxii) Training and research programmes *vill be strengthened. The substantive content of the programmes will be decided in the light of an independent review of the existing institutes and their working, the facilties available outside Government and ways in which these facilties can be better utilised. Greater emphasis will be laid on helping universities/research institutes outside the Government to develop expertise and knowledge in water-related fields and to devise ways in which there is greater interaction between them and Government agencies, besides greater involvement of non-Government experts in planning, design and evaluation of water control programmes.
xxiii) Concentrated efforts will be made to ensure that the States strengthen the organisation and competence for river basin planning and prepare Master Plan for each river basin.
xxiv) The process of decision-making on irrigation projects need to be made more open so that the public at large, particularly those directly involved, can have access to more information about the assumptions and the calculations on which a project is judged by the authorities to be technically and economically viable.
xxv) At the national level, there is a need for removing inter-regional disparities to the extent possible in order to give a sense of equity on macro level. At the micro level of an irrigation project the thrust will be towards an equitable water supply to be engineered more by systemic reforms in the form of appropriate water pricing and by forming cooperatives for group use of water.
xxvi) As part of the continued stress on R and D activity, greater attention needs to be paid to hydrological data observation, standardisation of designs of small dams, arrangement to dispose of excess flood water and better water management projects. All-out efforts will be made for increasing the remote sensing application in water resources sector without duplication of efforts and investment, particularly in the thrust areas like flood mapping, ground water monitoring, irrigation water manangement, land use and land capability studies etc. besides strengthening the in-house capability of interpretation of remote sensing data.
xxvii) A symbiotic relation between the R and D efforts of the Government, the universities and research institution will be aimed at.
Eighth Five Year Plan
3.25.1 The Eighth Five Year Plan outlay for Irrigation, CAD and Flood Control Sector as a whole is Rs. 32525.29 crores. The Statewise and sub-sectorwise break-up is given at Statement 3.8. The targets of physical benefits are as given in Statement 3.3 for major and medium irrigation, and in Statement 3.6 for minor irrigation.
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