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Mains Practice Questions

  • Q. Identify the challenges involved in the implementation of micro-irrigation technology to promote water use efficiency in agriculture. (250 words)

    04 Feb, 2019 GS Paper 3 Economy


    • Introduce by giving emphasis on water scarcity situations in India.
    • Give the type and advantages of micro-irrigation technology.
    • Identify challenges and give steps taken to resolve in way forward.


    • Water is a scarce natural resource and the major requirement of water is in agricultural sector. The water availability depends on various hydro-meteorological factors and therefore the efficient use of available water for irrigation is vital but a major challenge. Hence, technological innovations and interventions are essential for water development and management for sustainable agriculture and micro-irrigation is one such innovative technology.
    • According to the study , the average penetration level of micro-irrigation in the country is 5.5 % which is much less compared to other countries


    • Sprinkler irrigation and drip irrigation are the commonly used micro-irrigation methods.


      • Micro-irrigation technology ensures water use efficiency as much as 50- 90%. This can be achieved due to the fact that micro-irrigation helps to reduce conveyance losses, runoff, evaporation losses, seepage and deep percolation losses significantly.
      • Since low flow rate is required, small wells can also be used as a source and it helps for energy savings upto 30.5%.
      • The crop yield is increased and it was stated that the productivity for crops & fruits is increased up to 42.4 % and the increase in productivity for vegetables up to 52.7%.
      • More focussed and judicious use of water has resulted in the increase in farmer’s income.
      • Reduction in energy consumption and in the use of chemical fertilizers & pesticides.
    • Challenges involved in the implementation of micro-irrigation technology:
      • Lack of awareness on farmer’s part: Inadequate focus on nationwide spreading of micro-irrigation technology.
      • Inefficiency in implementation as the implementation agency was changed from a dedicated mission to a component part of NMSA under PMKSY. In many States, the released funds were not utilised properly due to the lack of implementation strategies;
      • Lack of reliable guidelines and delay in Government orders
      • Government fund: Unavailability of subsidy funds for installation as subsidy reduced from 50% to 35% and allocation of funds under various schemes is declined;
      • Financial: Difficulty in getting necessary supports from financial services. It was reported that a lower adoption rate due to the reduction in budget during the period (2013-16).
      •  Energy: the main input for an irrigation system is energy, and for large scale projects, only electricity is a viable source which is still beyond the reach of every farmer.

    Way forward

    • National Mission for Sustainable Agriculture (NMSA) had On-farm water management component which focuses on promotion of efficient technologies and water use efficiency.
    • “Per Drop More Crop” - Improving Water Use Efficiency. This scheme focuses on all aspects of water development and management with micro-irrigation as an integral component.
    • Various steps taken by Government for promotion of micro irrigation include
      • Training and awareness programmes
      • Awareness through print media and radio & TV talks
      • Organization of workshops, seminars and interactive meetings
      • Publicity creation through Exhibitions, Fairs and Kisan Melas
      • Publication of literature and
      • Short duration films.
    • All such programmes should be implemented with a strong will to achieve water use efficiency.

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