7th Five Year Plan (Vol-2)
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3.1 The area under irrigation increased at the rate of 0.7 million hectares per year during the First Plan period, and the growth rate accelerated to 1.6 million hectares and 2.2 million hectares per year during the Fifth and Sixth Plan years, respectively. During the Seventh Plan period, the area under irrigation is proposed to be increased at the rate of 2.5 million hectares per year.

3.2 The major objectives in the irrigation sector during the Seventh Plan will be broadly as follows:

  1. To give priority to the completion of unfinished irrigation projects which are in an advanced stage and are capable of yielding full or partial benefits in the Seventh Plan; giving priority to projects benefiting the tribal areas, drought-prone areas and areas with a sizeable scheduled caste population.
  2. To restrict new starts to medium projects in drought-prone, tribal and backward areas. More emphasis will be laid on minor irrigation programmes which could be completed quickly and start yielding benefits.
  3. To give the highest priority to the utilisation of the existing irrigation potential for optimising production by constructing field channels, land levelling and introduction of Warabandi.
  4. To solve the problems arising from salinity and water-logging in irrigated areas by giving due priority to the drainage schemes for completed irrigation projects and by including the drainage component in new projects.
  5. To accelerate exploration and exploitation of ground-water on a priority basis, particularly in the eastern and north-eastern regions.
  6. To ensure satisfactory maintenance of canals and the distribution system by making adequate financial allocations for such purposes.
  7. To take up necessary action for early implementation of the recommendations of Rashtriya Barh ayog, particularly for legislation to prevent encroachment in flood-prone areas.

3.3 The following measures will be taken for implementing the major programme outlined above:

  1. Earmarking outlays from year to year for selected projects in order to ensure that adequate funds are made available for their timely completion.
  2. Monitoring closely and evaluate projects periodically to obtain the benefits in time within the estimated outlay.
  3. Reviewing the functioning of the existing Command Area Development organisations and taking the necessary measures for effectively integrating the functions of various authorities departments for maximum efficiency.
  4. Setting up a system of evaluation to assess regularly the performance of Command Area Development projects by appraising the actual benefits through increased utilisation of water and increased production.
  5. Reviewing periodically the water rates to be levied so that they are adequate to meet the cost of operation and maintenance and provide a reasonable return on investment.
  6. To achieve maximum return with better and improved water management, the farmers' involvement would be ensured through cooperation and other measures in the day-to-day management and distribution of water.

Present Status of Irrigation Development in India

3.4 India has harnessed its vast water resources by creating an irrigation potential of about 66 million hectares by the end of the Sixth Plan period; it ranks first among the countries of the world in respect of existing irrigation facilities. The average annual precipitation excluding evapo-transpiration and soil moisture storage has been estimated at 178 million hectare metres (1780 thousand million cubic metres) which contributes to the surface run-off and the ground water recharge included in the annual hydrological cycle. However, on account of the limitations of topography, physiography, geology, dependability, quality and the present state of technology, only a part of this will be utilisable. The Irrigation Commission (1972) estimated that about 67 million hectare metres of surface water (670 thousand million cubic metres) and 26.5 million hectare metres of ground water (265 thousand million cubic metres) can be utilised. The estimate of the utilisable water resources is, however, expected to improve with the advancement of technology.

Irrigation Potential

3.5 Out of a geographical area of about 329 million hectares the cultivable area, net sown area and gross cropped area comprise 186 million hectares, 143 million hectares and 175 million hectares, respectively. The ultimate irrigation potential from major, medium and minor irrigation schemes is estimated at 113.5 million hectares of which 58.5 million hectares is from major and medium schemes and 55 million hectares from minor irrigation schemes. With a view to optimally utilising the available water resources of the country by storage and inter-basin transfer from surplus to deficit and drought-prone area, a national perspective for water resources development has been prepared. It has two components, viz., Himalayan Rivers Development and Peninsular Rivers Development. The national perspective envisages an additional benefit of 25 million hectares from surface water and 10 million hectares by increased use of ground water, which is expected to raise the ultimate irrigation potential from 113.5 million hectares to 148 million hectares. Since available water resources would not be able to serve the entire cultivable area envisaged, greater emphasis has to be laid on optimum use of the irrigation facilities created so that the food production needs of the country are adequately met. It is proposed to utilise'the available water resources fully by 2010 AD or so and to create an ultimate irrigation potential of 113.5 million hectares. For this to be possible, a large volume of resources would be required.

3.6 Table 3.1 outlines the development of irrigation potential from the beginning of the First Plan.

3.7 The outlays during the successive Plan periods and the development of irrigation potential are presented in Table 3.2.

3.8 At the beginning of the First Plan 1950-51, irrigation schemes were classified into three categories:

  • Major, costing more than Rs. 5 crores each;
  • Medium, costing between Rs. 10 lakhs and Rs. 5crores; and
  • Minor, costing less than Rs. 10 lakhs each.

TABLE 3.1: Irrigation Potential and Utilisation (1950-85)
(Million hectares)

S.NO. Item Ultimate Potential 1950-51 1979-80 1984-85
Potential Utilisation Potential Utilisation Potential Utilisation
(1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6) (7) (8) (9)
1 Surface water 73.5 16.1 16.1 34.6 30.6 40.2 34.3
(a) Major and medium 58.5 9.7 9.7 26.6 22.6 30.5 25.3
(b) Minor 15.0 6.4 6.4 8.0 8.0 9.7 9.0"
2 Ground water 40.0 6.5 6.5 22.0 22.0 27.7 26.1'
TOTAL 113.5 22.6 22.6 56.6 52.6 67.9 60.4

'Since separate utilisation figures for minor irrigation have been made available by the end of 1984-85, the related potential and utilisation figures are shown separately.

TABLE 3.2: Outlay and Development of Irrigation Potential

Outlay/Expenditure Irrigation  potential  cumulative
(Rs. in crores) (Million hectares)
Major and medium irrigation Minor irrigation Total Major and medium irrigation Minor irrigation Total
(1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6) (7)
Pre-Plan benefits 9.7 12.9 22.6
First Plan 380* 66 446 12.20 14.06 26.26
Second Plan 380 142 522 14.30 14.79 29.09
Third Plan 581 328 909 16.60 17.01 33.61
Annual Plans (66-69) 434 326 760 18.10 19.00 37.10
Fourth Plan (69-74) 12.37 (b) 513 1750 20.70 23.50 44.20
Fifth Plan (74-78) 2442 (a) 631 3073 24.82 27.30 52.12
Annual Plan (78-79) 977 237 1214 25.86 28.60 54.46
Annual Plan (79-80) 1079 260 1339 26.60 30.00 56.60
Sixth Plan (80-85) 7516 1802 9318 30.50 37.40 67.90

*Includes Rs. 80 crores incurred during the pre-Plan period.

  1. Excludes non-Plan outlay of Rs, 52.24 crores on unapproved Cauvery Basin projects.
  2. Excludes Plan outlay of Rs. 50.54 crores on unapproved Cauvery Basin projects.

According to the revised classification made in April 1978, projects having CCA (culturable command area) of more than 10 thousand hectares each are classified as major projects, those having CCA between 2 thousand hectares and 10 thousand hectares as medium schemes and those having CCA of 2 thousand hectares or less each are classified as minor irrigation schemes.



3.9 The Sixth Plan envisaged a target for creation of an additional irrigation potential of 5.74 million hectares with an outlay of Rs. 8,391 crores. Due to the overall constraint of resources, there has been a shortfall in the financial provisions to the extent of 10 per cent of the Sixth Plan allocation. Due to year to year escalation in the price level, the financial allocation was much less in real terms. As a result, the anticipated achievement of additional irrigation potential in the Sixth Plan was 3.9 million hectares. Rise in the cost of projects due to general inflation and insufficient availability of financial allocations to complete the on-•going projects largely accounted for the shortfall of 1.74 million hectares. Some other factors were the proliferation of projects and thin spreading of resources, problems of land acquisition, rehabilitation, etc. A sizeable outlay under the irrigation sector was to be earmarked for externally-aided projects to honour the commitments made to external financial agencies. Adequate funds, therefore, could not be provided by the States for other projects (not aided externally) which were in advanced stages of completion to yield full or partial benefits during the Sixth Plan period. The external financing agencies, by and large, preferred to finance comparatively new projects instead of concentrating investment on the ongoing schemes for getting early benefits from them. The external aid has undoubtedly contributed to improved technology and more systematic planning through improved engineering practices in design, construction and planning for more assured results—though at a slightly higher cost than that of projects being implemented without external aid.

3.10 At the time of formulation of the Sixth Plan, it was envisaged that 65 major irrigation projects which were started before April 1976 would be completed in the Plan period. The Mid-Term Appraisal of the Sixth Plan revealed that only 38 out of these 65 projects would be completed by the end of the Sixth Plan. According to the latest assessment, only 25 projects would be completed by 1984-85. The remaining 40 projects would now spill over to the Seventh Plan period. Some of these projects were started before the Fifth Plan period and stress is now being laid on their completion on a priority basis during the Seventh Plan period. The delay in the completion of the selected projects is mainly due to inadequacy of funding, apart from other reasons mentioned earlier. One other notable reason for the delay in completion of projects is the changes in the scope of the originally sanctioned projects. Instead of obtaining regular sanction for additional works, the State Governments are implementing them as part of the original project, without obtaining separate sanction. This has created the impression of irrigation projects lingering for years without completion. It is in this way that 40 projects which have been started before April 1976 are still continuing. It has, therefore, been impressed upon the States by the Planning Commission that when the works as per the approved scope of the projects are completed, the capital accounts should be closed and separate sanction should be obtained for any proposed extension/additional works.

Potential and Utilisation

3.11 However, in spite of the constraints, etc., the rate of growth in the irrigation sector has been, on average, 2.2 million hectares per year during the Sixth Plan, which represents a sizeable improvement on the performance during the earlier Plans. The utilisation of irrigation potential created continued to be low during the Sixth Plan period and the gap between potential and utilisation figures has continued to be of the order of about 5 million hectares, for major and medium irrigation schemes. Concerted efforts would, therefore, be necessary during the Seventh Plan period to bridge this gap as far as possible.

Strategy for the Seventh Plan

3.12 The main strategy in the Seventh Plan is to increase productivity in the irrigation areas, which is low at present. Irrigation projects which are in an advanced stage of implementation and are capable of yielding full or partial benefits in the Seventh Plan period, would be adequately funded for completion on a priority basis. New starts would be restricted to medium irrigation projects in drought prone, tribal and backward areas. These would be funded adequately in the Seventh Plan so as to yield benefits in the Plan period. In order to maximise benefits from the available resources, the following order of priority would be followed, by and large, for funding of unfinished irrigation projects:

  1. Externally-aided projects to be funded according to the schedule of agreement signed with external agencies;
  2. Completion of on-going medium irrigation projects, which will be fully funded;
  3. Completion of pre-Fifth Plan and Fifth Plan major irrigation projects;
  4. Inter-State multi-purpose and major irrigation projects to be adequately funded for which outlays would be earmarked in the respective plans of the states;
  5. Acceleration or completion of major irrigation projects of the Annual Plans (1978-80);
  6. Completion of the Sixth Plan major irrigation projects which are in an advanced stage of construction;
  7. Provision of necessary funds for modernisation of existing irrigation works.

In order to ensure early completion of the long delayed on-going schemes, outlays would be earmarked from year to year. Similarly, inter-State projects and exterally-aided projects would also be provided with earmarked outlays.

3.13 Utilisation of existing irrigation potential will also be given high priority in the Plan period by expediting construction of field channels, land levelling/shaping, field drains and introduction of Warabandi. For this purpose, on-going Command Area Development projects need to be completed in the Plan period. For the modernisation of existing but old or inefficient irrigation systems, resources should be mobilised from the beneficiaries to the extent possible, with regard to the benefits already received or to be received after such modernisation is effected.

Water Logging and Salinity

3.14 In all major and medium irrigation projects, and specially where these are in water-scarce areas, highly water-intensive crops would be discouraged and agricultural output maximised per unit of water by ensuring equitable distribution of water to farmers with a view to stabilising agriculture. In existing irrigated areas where salinity and water-logging have resulted in good agricultural land becoming unusable, adequate drainage facilities would be provided on a priority basis and proper usage of surface and ground water encouraged, as also reclamation and revised cropping pattern for preventing recurrence of waterlogging and salinity. As precise statistical data are not yet available, States have been requested to carry out surveys for a correct assessment of irrigated lands that have fallen into disuse because of waterlogging and salinity. The matter will be followed up with the States.

3.15 In view of the longterm objective of realising the full potential by 2010 AD, it would be neccessary to increase the pace of creation of additional irrigation potential, not only during the Seventh Plan but also in the subsequent Plan periods, particularly in respect of major and medium irrigation projects. This would require massive investment in the irrigation sector. A national water perspective has been conceived and its details are being worked out for increasing the ultimate irrigation potential by taking recourse to inter-basin tranters of water.


3.16 Drainage improvement is an important part of irrigation projects. For lack of attention, the drainage problem has become particularly serious in heavy rainfall areas owing to inadequate outfall conditions, this results in low agricultural productivity. Special-attention would be paid in the Seventh Plan period to improve the drainage system in existing commands through suitable drainage schemes. In the case of new projects, it would be ensured that the project estimate itself provides for the necessary drainage arrangements. The need for sub-surface drainage should also be carefully examined and appropriate works taken up as a part of the onfarm development works.

3.17 Conjunctive use of surface and ground water in the command areas will enable maximisation of agricultural production and optimal use of available water. This will also help in reducing ill effects of water logging. Crop planning in the command areas should be developed on this basis so that greater emphasis is given for ground water exploitation through both public and private investment in the command area.

3.18 Where water availability is scarce and the nature of the terrain through which the canals pass is porous and considerable water is lost in seepage, lining of canal system either partially or wholly has been accepted as a necessary investment. Already in Punjab and Haryana and also in certain other parts of the country, lining of substantial stretches of the canal system has been taken up. Canal lining methods, however, have to ensure that the existing ground water exploitation is not materially affected. The importance of this approach has now been accepted by the States and every effort will be made to take up the lining programme on a priority basis.

3.19 Imbalances in the development of irrigation in different regions of the country are due to diversity in topography, rainfall characteristics, uneven spatial distribution of water resources, the priority accorded to irrigation in the region in the past and other factors, some States with better organisation and infrastructural facilities like adequate power have harnessed more than 60 per cent of their available water resources while other States have lagged behind in this respect. Since the early years of the First Plan, a number of steps have been taken to correct the regional imbalances. The percentages of cultivable land irrigated in different States at the beginning of the Seventh Plan indicate that while States like Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Tamil Nadu have progressed appreciably, other States like Madhya Pradesh, Maharash-tra, Gujarat, Karnataka, Manipur and Assam have to go a long way in realising full potential. Apart from the expeditious and efficient harnessing of the locally available water resources, the formulation of the national perspective involving inter-basin transfer of water would greatly help in minimising the regional imbalances. It is gratifying to note that efforts are now being made by the States with low irrigation percentage to catch up with other parts of the country by taking up a large number of irrigation schemes.

3.20 Each State has to prepare an apropriate irrigation programme within the long-term perspective of irrigation development. There should be a time-bound programme for completion of projects; advance planning in making available financial resources, man-power, materials and equipments, and close monitoring of progress are required. Early completion of projects will help in eliminating time and cost over-runs of projects. The budgeting of financial resources will be realistic only if the project estimates are continuously updated by Special Cost Control Cells for each major and medium irrigation project. It is assumed that fully investigated schemes will enable correct budgeting and avoid changes in the scope of the project at the time of implementation. Delegation of powers and development of modalities for taking expeditious decisions during implementation of projects are called for. Delay in acquisition of land and in clearance of forest land has often been a constraint on timely implementation of projects. It will be necessary to deploy a substantial number of officers at the start of every project to expedite land acquisition proceedings.

3.21 In the Sixth Plan, a number of irrigation projects were taken up with external financing assistance from the World Bank, IDA, IFAD, USAID, EEC, etc. Although these projects had to be implemented according to the time bound programme envisaged in the project agreements with external agencies, delays occurred due to inadequate funding and for other reasons mentioned above. In the Seventh Plan, the percentage of investment in externally-aided schemes is expected to be much higher than in the Sixth Plan. Concerted efforts would be necessary to take timely action in acquisition of land, clearance in respect of forest land, etc., so that the progress on such schemes is not hampered. It will also be necessary to ensure that only fully investigated schemes for which adequate funds are available in the State Plan are proposed to such external agencies. Unless the projects are examind in the CWC, cleared by the Advisory Committee on Irrigation, Flood Control and Multipurpose Projects and accepted by the Planning Commission, they should not be proposed for external financing.

3.22 Existing irrigation works generally suffer from lack of maintenance. It has been observed that the majority of projects have not received maintenance grants conforming to the recommendations of the successive Finance Commissions. The consequent rapid deterioration in the conditions of the existing irrigation works will necessitate increased investment in modernisation of such works. It is, therefore, necessary that adequate funds are ensured for this purpose in the State Budgets.

Water Rates

3.23 In most of the States, gross receipts from irrigation works are at present insufficient to cover even working expenses. Current water rates in many states have not been reviewed and properly updated for the past many years. The States will have to take appropriate steps in this direction.

3.24 The Sixth Plan, a system of monitoring has been followed for 66 major irrigation projects. Under the arrangement, the officers of the CWC periodically visit the projects to look into the deficiencies and bottlenecks in their implementation so that corrective action is taken. The States have also to set up cells at the project and State level for close monitoring of projects in order to ensure that the targets are achieved according to schedule. The Centre is also taking steps for assisting in procuring materials like cement, steel and explosives. The project authorities have to prepare a detailed construction programme at the begining of the year, taking into account the availability of men, material and financial resources, against which the progress can be monitored at all stages.

Sedimentation of Reservoirs

3.25 Although soil conservation measures in river valley catchments have been undertaken under successive plans to reduce the erosion of soil cover and the corresponding inflow of silt into reservoirs the programme has not been extensive enough to cover most of the reservoirs in the country. Outlays for this programme are provided under the Agricultural Sector as a part of the Centrally Sponsored Scheme of soil conservation in river valley catchments. There is a great need to step up the investment under this programme so that it covers as many existing large dams as possible as well as those which are in advanced stages of construction. There has been large-scale denudation of vegetation and forests in the catchment areas of reservoirs, leading to increasing silt load in rivers. Overgrazing, faulty agricultural practices and indiscriminate felling of trees in the catchment areas have to be halted, besides implementing soil conservation measures, as mentioned above, by providing adequate funds under the Agricultural Sector. In new irrigation projects adequate care is being taken for compensatory afforestation.


3.26 There is considerable scope and necessity for taking concerted measures to accelerate the pace of research activities in irrigation and flood control sectors. Research projects in the Irrigation sector are taken up at the Central level by the Central Water and Power Research Station (CWPRS), Pune, Central Soil and Materials Research Station (CSMRS), New Delhi, National Institute of Hydrology (NIH), Roorkee, and Central Board of Irrigation and Power (CBIP), New Delhi and at the State level by State irrigation research institutes. Progress on research projects under CWPRS and CSMRS was slow due to delays at various levels such as preparation of projects for external aid, recruitment of staff and buying of equipment. Research projects sponsored by CBIP and carried out by State irrigation research institutes have progressed satisfactorily.

3.27 The major activities of the CWPRS cover model testing, basic research and evaluation of economic designs for ensuring safety and operational efficiency of the river valley projects at their formative stage. The CSMRS has been conducting basic and applied research and providing advice in the field of geo-mechanics and construction materials. The research station also renders consultancy services to the various departments of the Centre and State Governments. There is great scope and necessity for expanding the activities of CSWPRS and CSMRS in fundamental research in irrigation. The NIH has so far carried out review of literature and testing of computer programmes, collection of data, training of scientists, implementation in consultancy research projects for ground water modelling studies and Narmada Basin Flood studies. The Institute has identified priority areas for research in hydrology which will assist in the formulation of the river valley projects more objectively.

3.28 The CBIP has sponsored research studies on the major aspects including water studies in hydrology, hydraulics, irrigation, drainage and reclamation, flood control and river training, coastal engineering and tidal hydraulics. It has been coordinating research and providing reports of the results to various users. The Central Government has been assisting such research activities by giving grant assistance to specific research programmes relating to river valley projects.

3.29 The Central Water Commission (CWC) has taken up a number of studies on the application of space technology for water resources development in consultation with the National Remote Sensing Agency (NRSA). It is expected that application of remote sensing techniques would help in substantial saving in time and effort in the field of water resources development.


3.30 With the expansion of the irrigation programme, the need for training personnel, both in the methods of construction and in efficient management of the irrigation system, has assumed greater importance. Water and Land Management Institutes (WALMI) have been set up with external assistance in Gujarat, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and Madhya Pradesh and are in the process of being set up in some other States. Besides, some States have established staff training colleges or institutes. There is a proposal to set up a National Water Management Training Institute which will be the apex body at the Central level to coordinate the activities of the State-level institutes in order to meet the growing need for trained personnel in the water resources sector. The existing facilities available at the National institutes, such as Roorkee University, Indian Institutes of Technology, Water Technology Centre, New Delhi and some of the leading agriculture and engineering institutions will also be made use of in an increasing manner. The investment on research and training will go a long way in improving the efficiency in project formulation, implementation and operation of the irrigation projects. This investment has been compared to the size of the programme.

Evaluation Studies

3.31 Although a number of irrigation projects have been in operation, very few evaluation studies have been undertaken so far, in order to ascertain the impact on the socio-economic development of the irrigated areas. Such studies need to be taken up urgently. In view of the importance of such studies, the Planning Commission have constituted a committee for identifying and selecting irrigation projects for which such studies are to be undertaken, for laying guidelines and following up and monitoring such evaluation studies. In some projects, the designed cropping pattern has not come about in actual practice for various reasons and a thorough review of such projects would enable reassessment of the project potential and help determine better ways and means of utilising the available water resources under such projects. In the Seventh Plan period, the States and the Central agencies would initiate more such studies, the results of which would also be useful in the formulation of new projects.

Investment and Target

3.32 An outlay of Rs. 11555.56 crores is proposed to be invested on major and medium irrigation projects. Since irrigation is a State subject, the bulk of the investment would be in the State sector.The distribution of investment between the Centre, States and Union Territories is as follows:

(Rs. crores)
States 11445.96
Union Territories 59.60
Central Sector 50.00
Total:— 11555.56

With the above outlay an additional irrigation potential of 4.30 million ha. is proposed to be created in the Seventh Plan. Annexures 3.1 and 3.2 indicate the State-wise break-up of outlays and benefits likely to be achieved from major and medium irrigation schemes. In view of the large spill over of outlays from the earlier Plan projects, the bulk of the investments in the Seventh Plan would be concentrated In completing on-going schemes in order to realise maximum benefits from them. Annexures 3.3 and 3.4 indicate the list of irrigation projects started before April 1974 that are likely to be completed in the Seventh Plan and those which are likely to spill over into the subsequent Plans respectively.

Minor Irrigation

3.33 Since 1978-79, all irrigation schemes having a culturable command area upto 2000 ha. are classified as minor irrigation projects. These generally comprise all groundwater schemes like dugwells and tubewells and surface water flow and lift schemes. In some areas, micro storage schemes to improve moisture regime in the vicinity and percolation tanks to replenish ground water are also taken up under this Programme. The investment in the Minor Irrigation Programme largely comes from institutional and private sources, while public sector outlays, by and large, are only invested in deep tubewells and surface flow and lift irrigation schemes. Ground water development forms the bulk of the Minor Irrigation Programme. It is essentially a farmer's programme implemented primarily through individual and cooperative efforts, with finances obtained mainly from institutional sources. Minor surface water flow and lift irrigation schemes are particularly suited for irrigated agriculture in undulating hilly regions with high plateau lands. These provide good sources of irrigation in several chronically drought-affected areas and being labour-intensive, provide excellent opportunities for rural employment.

Review of the Sixth Plan

3.34 The Sixth Plan envisaged a target of 8 million hectares with a public sector outlay of Rs. 1811 crores. The institutional investment expected was about Rs. 1700 crores. Due to constraint of resources, there has been a marginal shortfall in the target for public sector outlay as compared to the Sixth Plan allocation. There was also a shortfall in the institutional investment, which is now expected to be Rs. 1544 crores as against Rs. 1700 crores envisaged earlier. This shortfall can be mainly attributed to (i) the poor recovery position of Land Development Banks, (ii) inadequate subsidies and nonavailability of subsidies to several farmers under various programmes and (iii) slackness in the extension efforts. The shortfall in investment under the State tubewell programme was due to inadequate Plan provision under some State Plans and deficiencies in the management of tubewell corporations. As a result, there was an overall shortfall of about 0.6 million hectares in the achievement during the Plan period. The cumulative achievement of potential under this programme by the end of 1984-85 was 37.4 million hectares, which includes and addition to potential of /.4 million hectares created during the Sixth Plan. The physical achievements during the Sixth Plan in respect of some of the important items are as follows:

  Target (Numbers) Anticipated achievement
(i) Dugwells (million) 1.2 0.96
(ii) Shallow tubewells (million) 1.2 1.33
(iii) Deep tubewells ('000) 15 13.0
(iv) Electrical pump sets (million) 2.5 1.77

Strategy for the Seventh Plan

3.35 The strategy to accelerate the Minor Irrigation Programme during the Seventh Plan comprises two main thrusts:

(a) As surface water (minor) sources are limited, concerted action to step up ground water development would be taken. Since about 70 per cent of the total geographical area of the country in underlain with hard-rock formations, the exploitation of ground water has been concentrated hitherto in the alluvial tracts. Concerted action is proposed to explore and exploit ground water in the other tracts, particularly in the eastern and northeastern States.

(b) While the flow of institutional credit has not been picking up at the desired rate in the eastern and north-eastern region, the tempo has actually been going down in many other States due to deteriorating recovery position, etc. Mobilising investible resources from the Land Development Banks, commercial banks, etc., through special efforts would be the main stress of the Minor Irrigation Programme during the Seventh Plan. Better performance in this sector is proposed to be achieved by:

  1. Accelerating the programme of systematic hyd-rogeological surveys and investigations, at both Central and State levels, for systematic ground water exploitation by strengthening the State ground water organisations to support ground-water development, with greater stress on the eastern and north-eastern States.
  2. Completion of on-going surface water schemes on a priority basis to derive quick benefits.
  3. Allocating adequate funds on the on-going externally-aided projects to honour commitments.
  4. Taking concerted action to ensure timely availability of power required for agricultural pumpsets.
  5. Continuing with the accelerated programme of energising pumpsets and installation of diesel pumpsets.
  6. Providing subsidies to small and marginal farmers and other weaker sections for encouraging private minor irrigation works.
  7. Taking measures for providing customer service  to farmers for efficient and smooth operation of minor irrigation works.
  8. Encouraging conjunctive use of surface and groundwater for optimising production.
  9. Planning for conjunctive programming to cut down the gestation periods for achieving full benefits from major and medium irrigation schemes.

Institutional Investment

3.36 As mentioned earlier, there has been some shortfall in institutional investment in the Sixth Plan: against the target of Rs. 1700 crores, the achievement was Rs. 1544 crores. While public sector investment has shown an increasing trend from Plan to Plan, institutional investment has not been up to expectations. Since the latter has to play an important part in ground water development—a salient feature of minor irrigation potential—concerted efforts would be continued to step up institutional investment in the Seventh Plan by taking recourse to measures as given below:

  1. Completion of micro-level surveys of the dark and grey categories of blocks in respect of ground water development on a priority basis.
  2. Streamlining and simplifying the process of identification, motivation, collection of applications, sanction of loans, provision of technical guidance, arrangements for customer services.
  3. Monitoring arrangements for completion of individual projects.
  4. Establishment of a State-level coordination committee to sort out the problems being faced by the financing institutions.
  5. Special drive for improving the overdues position of Land Development Banks to make them eligible for further lending.
  6. Organising drives for completion and up-dating of land records in the States of the eastern region and adopting quick procedures for certification of land titles in the absence of updated records.
  7. Reviewing the functioning of Minor Irrigation Corporations by the State Governments, as they are facing problems of repayment of loans and therefore not utilising the committed refinancing facilities.

Public Sector Outlays

3.37 In the implementation of the Minor Irrigation Programme in the Seventh Plan, the following priorities are proposed with regard to public sector investment:

  1. Priority for the spillover suface water schemes in the allocation of outlays to make them operational early.
  2. Allocation of funds for on-going externally aided minor irrigation schemes according to the schedule of agreement reached with the external agencies for financing them, and proposing new schemes of assistance which are technically and economically viable after ensuring adequate funds.
  3. Implementation of new schemes to serve the droughtprone, tribal and backward areas.
  4. Priority for renovation and modernisation of surface water tanks and zamindari khuls to stabilise existing irrigation benefits from such schemes.
  5. Provision of equity capital support for State Minor Irrigation Corporations to take up additional surface water lift schemes, deep tubewells and such other development works.

Survey and Investigations

3.38 The Minor Irrigation surface water schemes are proposed to be formulated on the basis of detailed survey and investigation, with the latest improved technology for small dams. In several of the existing minor irrigation works the latest technology has not been adopted, particularly with regard to hydrology, design flood for determining length of spillway, etc. The preparation of project reports for minor irrigation calls for considerable improvement and has to be based on detailed data. In the case of externally-aided projects, a number of States have already taken steps to adopt the latest technology in project preparation. This would be considered for application to all minor irrigation schemes to the extent possible so that investment is made in future only on sound projects.

3.39 In the case of ground water projects, it is proposed to take up survey and investigations particularly in the eastern and north-eastern States so that ground water exploitation is done on a more systematic and rational basis to avoid over exploitation. In some parts of Gujarat, Haryana, Punjab and Tamil Nadu, the subsiding of the water table is already posing serious problems. Necessary measures to control overexploitation are proposed to be undertaken in these States. It would be necessary to use extension services in disseminating information about optimal extraction of water, particularly in areas where highvalue crops tend to encourage overuse of water. As the States of Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Orissa, Rajasthan and West Bengal have large ground-water resources available, efforts are being made to accelerate ground water development in these States. The Central Ground Water Board (CGWB) would provide support for surveys and exploratory drilling in these States. State ground water organisations would continue to be strengthened for taking up hydrogeological surveys and investigations.

3.40 In the States and UTs of the north-eastern region, ground water development has been negligible. For the UTs, the CGWB would take up surveys as well as development. For the States in that region, the CGWB would complete the systematic surveys and exploratory drillings and help the States in setting up the organisation required for development. The Board would also arrange for the necessary training of the staff and personnel of the State ground water organisations.

Energisation of Pumpsets

3.41 In order to step up the rate of energisation and to bring down the cost of laying power lines in rural areas, the closest coordination and synchronisation would be brought about between the schemes for installing tubewelte and those for pumpsets. Power restrictions on irrigated agriculture would be minimised as for as possible. The energisation of pumpsets would be organised in clusters to the extent possible so that the cost per unit is kept low. Close coordination between the States' Minor Irrigation Ground Water Departments and the State Electricity Boards would be ensured. Efforts would be made to increase the efficiency of pumpsets through appropriate choice of size of motors, pumps and suction and delivery heads.

3.42 To meet the shortage of electrical power and the high cost of diesel, greater attention would be paid to promotion of irrigation pumping through renewable sources of energy, i.e., solar, wind, hydram and biogas, through subsidies, arrangements for mass demonstration and education.

3.43 As a large number of diesel and electrical pump-sets are found to be operating at low efficiency, resulting in over-consumption of fuel and electrical energy, efforts would be made to rectify the old installations and at the same time to guard /against new installations of inefficient pumpsets.

3.44 To conserve water especially in drought-prone and arid areas, the use of sprinklers and drip irrigation methods as the case may be are being encouraged through demonstration and education programmes for farmers. The cumstomer service for installation of these systems would be provided by the State Governments, corporations or cooperative societies. In the case of public tubewells, the provision of independent feeder forms a part of the modernisation programme.

Conjunctive Use of Surface and Groundwater

3.45 The conjunctive use of surface and groundwater would be encouraged in the minor irrigation programme. The dugwells programme in the command areas would be encouraged under the Command Area Development Programme, for supplementing canal irrigation. The conjunctive use programme under the various development sectors would be coordinated so that the existing irrigation facilities are put to the best use and the gestation period of irrigation utilisation under major and medium irrigation schemes is reduced.

Priority to Backward Areas

3.46 More emphasis would be laid on the development of irrigation in tribal, backward and predominantly scheduled caste/scheduled tribe areas. A master plan for the development of such areas should be prepared within the next few years. Also the funds which are flowing for the minor irrigation programme in such areas which are earmarked are fully spent and bottlenecks in the implementation of the irrigation schemes in these areas are identified for suitable corrective measures. The Programme of subsidies to small and marginal farmers to encourage minor irrigation works would continue.

Public Tubewells

3.47 Public tubewells have not been functioning to the optimum capacity in most of the States due to inadequate maintenance and the lack of a proper distribution system. Further measure to improve the standard of their maintenance would be initiated. In regard to public tubewells, in order to minimise losses in the open water courses system, a distribution system through pipes would be promoted.

Extention Services

3.48 In order to reduce the cost of water lifting, new mechanical devices for lifting water would be introduced and research in this direction would be intensified. In the planning of ground-water schemes, special measures would be initiated by the ground water organisations in the States for extending technical guidance to farmers on the basis of manuals, guidelines, type design, location and construction of wells, tubewells, etc.

Potential created and utilised

3.49 The statistics on minor irrigation are based on norms that vary from State to State. It is necessary to develop statistics to make uniform estimates of minor irrigation potential created in various States. This is proposed to be given special attention. Also authentic information on existing minor irrigation works going into disuse is not available. Periodical surveys in this respect are proposed so that the reduction in potential already created could be correctly assessed. For creation of additional potential from new projects in the Seventh Plan the existing works going out of use would be taken into account.

Coordinating Agency

3.50 As the Minor Irrigation Programme is implemented at the State level by various departments with funds flowing form various sectors of development in the State Plan and with funds available under NREP, IRDP,EGS, special programme for small and marginal farmers, RLEGP, etc., immediate action needs to be taken at the State level to coordinate the minor irrigation activities in their totality under the various departments. A nodal department at the State and Central levels must be identified to coordinate and reconcile the statistics of these departments with land utilisation statistics.

Coordination of Surface Water Projects with Forestry

3.51 Surface water projects are planned on watershed basis with due emphasis on integration with small headwater tanks (small storage works in the upper catchment) for soil and water conservation. These works would need to be integrated with social forestry and contour bunding being carried out under the Agricultural Sector for reducing the rate of siltation in the reservoirs.


3.52 The ultimate potential for development of minor irrigation has been assessed at 55 million hectares comprising 15 million hectares from surface water and 40 million hectares from ground water. The cumulative achievement by the end of 1984-85 was 37.4 million hectares. The target for the Seventh Plan is as shown below:

(Million hectares)
Potential Utilisation
(a) Surface Water 1.5   1.2
(b) Ground water 7.1 5.8

Total   8.6   7.0

3.53 An outlay of Rs. 2804.99 crores is envisaged in the public sector along with an institutional investment of the order of Rs. 3500 crores. The Statewise break up of public sector outlays and benefits are indicated an Anne-xures 3.5 and 3.6. The targets for selected heads under the programme will be as follows:

(i) Dugwells (million)   1.25
(ii) Shallow tubewells (million) 1.41
(iii) Deep tubewells ('000) 2.5
(iv) Electrical Pumpsets (million)   2.4

The following figures-summarise the outlay and benefits in the irrigation sector comprising major, medium and minor irrigation projects.

Command Area Development

3.54 The Command Area Development (CAD) programme was initiated in the Fifth Plan with a view to optimising agricultural production through better management of land and water use in the command areas of irrigation projects where there was considerable gap between the potential created and its realisation. At the beginning of the Sixth Plan, there were 76 projects with an ultimate potential of 15.3 million hectares in 16 States and one UT. The area covered, then, under field channels was 3.08 million hectares and under land levelling 0.94 million hectares. During 1983-84, 29 additional projects were added and one State, viz., Himachal Pradesh, joined the programme for the first time. Three projects in Maharash-tra were completed. Thus, at the beginning of Seventh Plan, there are 102 on-going CAD projects comprising an ultimate potential of 16.5 million hectares in 17 States and one UT.

Review of the Sixth Plan

3.55 The approved Sixth Plan outlay for the programme was Rs. 856 crores of which the Central sector provision was Rs. 300 crores and that in the Plans of States and UTs Rs. 556 crores. In addition, the institutional sector was expected to provide Rs. 110 crores for carrying out on on-farm development works. In order to expedite the construction of field channels and to bring about quicker utilisation of the irrigation potential, the Centre made available incentive grant of about Rs. 22 crores in 1983-84 and 1984-85 in order to achieve a target higher than what was originally fixed in the respective Plans of the States. The anticipated expenditure during the Plan period was Rs. 560.55 crores in the State sector and Rs. 257.18 crores in the Central Sector. Thus, the investment target was largely achieved during the Sixth Plan period.

TABLE 3.3: Outlay and Benefits in the Irrigation Sector


Seventh Plan Outlays (Rs.crores)

Targets/benefits during 1985-90 Benefits at the end of 1989-90
Potential Utilisation Potential Utilisation
(Million hectares) (Million hectares)
(i) Major-Medium


4.3 3.917 34.8 29.2
(ii) Minor


8.6 7.000 46.0 42.1


12.9 or Say 13.0 10.917 Say 11.0 80.8 71.3

Table 3.4
Targets and Achievements in respect of Field Channels, Land Levellling and Warabandi (Sixth Plan)

(Million hectares)
Target Anticipated Achievement
1. Construction of field channels 4.00 5.24
2. Land levelling 1.00 0.49
3. Warabandi Not fixed 1.81

3.56 As regards institutional finance, which was mainly for land-levelling works, there was sizeable shortfall since utilisation was Rs. 59 crores, i.e., about 60 per cent of the estimated provision. The main reasons for the shortfall were:

  1. Poor recovery of loans from farmers by the Land Development Banks and the consequent blocking of funds by Land Development Corporations (LDCs).
  2. Increase in the number of ineligible farmers.
  3. Delay in updating land records.

3.57 The Six Plan envisaged a target of 4 million hectares for field channels and 1 million hectares for land levelling. Originally, no target was fixed for Warabandi; a target for it was introduced from the year 1982. Table 3.4 shows targets and achievements during the Plan period.

It will be seen that while the target for field channels has been exceeded, there was a shortfall in the achievement in respect of land levelling. The reasons for slow progress in land levelling were:

  1. Reluctance of farmers to take loans as the cost of land-levelling/shaping was quite high as compared to the cost of field channels;
  2. Lack of adequate organisation and proper coordination;
  3. Absence of subsidy except for the small, marginal and scheduled tribe farmers on the IRDP pattern; hence farmers by large, were, reluctant to take up the programme; and
  4. Shortage of trained staff.

Strategy for the Seventh Plan

3.58 During the Sixth Plan the main objective of establishing command area development authorities for the coordination of all concerned departments (Irrigation, Agriculture, Cooperation, etc.), has been achieved to the extent envisaged, mainly because the activities of the functionaries responsible for water realease and control and'of those in charge of extension of agricultural inputs could not be brought about to the extent required. The success of the CAD Programme depends to a large extent on the Area Development Commissioner/Administrator who is in overall control of the officers in charge of various segments. The main emphasis druing the Seventh Plan would be to ensure, through suitable measures, effective coordination of the concerned activities of these departments under one authority. The Command Area Development Authority would ensure availability of the basic agricultural inputs through advance planning. Close monitoring and evaluation would be the main thrust of the CAD Programme during the Seventh Plan.

3.59 The CAD programme aims mainly at reducing the gap between the potential created and utilisation thereof. This is to be achieved through the integrated development of command areas which covers the following aspects:

  1. Modernisation and efficient operation of the irrigation system as well as development of the drainage system beyond the outlet serving 40-hectare blocks;
  2. Construction and lining of field channels/water courses;
  3. Land levelling and land shaping;
  4. Construction of field drains;
  5. Conjunctive use of surface and ground waters;
  6. Adoption and enforcement of a suitable corpping pattern;
  7. Introduction and enforcement of Warabandi (roster-ing system);
  8. Preparation of a plan for supply of inputs; credit,seeds, fertilisers, pesticides, etc. and
  9. Strengthening of the existing extension, training and demonstration organisations.

Apart form continuing the work of the 102 CAD projects, some more projects may be included under the programme in order to expedite utilisation of irrigation potential created through those projects also. Every effort will be made to complete on-going CAD projects in the Seventh Plan. Some of the CAD projects in the Sixth Plan received assistance from external agencies like the World Bank and USAID. The balance commitment on the on-going externally aided CAD projects will be fully met and some new projects may be proposed for such external assistance, depending on the local resources available.

3.60 In the Sixth Plan, the Central assistance was distributed on the basis of a maching provision made in the State Plans. No specific weightage was given to the States which are economically backward and could not provide the matching provision for the CAD programme. In the Seventh Plan, Central assistance would be distributed to the States in such a manner that economically backward States could be given a higher share of the Central sector outlay consistent with the CAD programme undertaken in the States. The criteria would be worked out by the Ministry of Water resources in consultation with the Ministry of Finance and the Planning Commission.

3.61 Farmers; participation in construction activities such as land levelling and shaping, construction of field channels and equitable distribution of water would be encouraged. In order to effect close coordination in the implementation of the CAD programme, representatives of the farmers cooperatives or outlet committees will be fully associated with the programme. In addition to the responsibility for the distribution of water within their jurisdiction, the farmers cooperatives would be encouraged to take up the responsibility for providing inputs for irrigated agriculture and also for marketing of the produce. The farmers associations and cooperatives established in some parts of the country have been successful in the equitable-distribution of water among their members, the bulk of the water supply being given by the Irrigation Department, to such cooperatives. This must be extended to other areas.

3.62 The Programme will envisage the following main activities in the Seventh Plan;

  1. Modernisation of the earlier irrigation systems with a view to stabilising the irrigation benefits from them and ensuring better return from the investments already made;
  2. Drainage improvement in the irrigated areas;
  3. The on-farm development works will be the core of the CAD programme. Efforts will be made to expedite construction of field channels from 40 hectares block in the last survey number, not only in the on-going CAD projects but also in the old irrigation systems which are proposed to be modernised. Land levelling and shaping, including consolidation of holdings and realignment of field boundaries, will continue to receive greater emphasis, particularly in the projects where a large precentage of the command consists of slopes, i.e., 2 to 3 per cent. If a part of the command has slopes higher than 3 per cent the techno-economic possibility of providing sprinkler irrigation will be examined and money provided for it, instead of land levelling which may not be economical in such cases.
  4. In many States, updating of land records has not been done in spite of the emphasis given to it in the Sixth Plan. This work would be accelerated so that the programme of field channels can be expedited.
  5. The existing cropping pattern will be reviewed for suitable modification according to the amount of water available in order to maximise production per unit of water. Adaptive trials will continue to be undertaken to determine the best project-specific cropping pattern.
  6. Introduction of Warabandi with the farmers' participation.
  7. Construction of essential roads in the command areas would be accelerated by making use of the funds available under the various programmes, through a co-ordinated action plan.
  8. Development of marketing and processing facilities will be organised by the CAD authorities.
  9. In order to facilitate the flow of institutional credit for expediting on-farm development works suitable legislation will be enacted in the States in which this has not already been done.
  10. A review of the procedure for obtaining institutional finance will be made and the procedure streamlined so that the farmers are able to get institutional finance in time.

Productivity in Irrigation Commands

3.63 The Production potential of agriculture as indicated in the National Demonstration is much higher than the actual productivity in the command areas. One of the major objectives of the CAD programme is to increase productivity in the irrigation commands through an integrated approach to water and crop management. The crop-cutting experiments in the irrigation commands have to be intensified in order to determine the increases in yields from time to time. Productivity can be improved not only by improvement in the level of utilisation but also by the supply of inputs and suitable extension facilities along with timely supply of water.

Evaluation Studies in the Irrigation Commands

3.64 A number of deficiencies such as slow pace of programme implementation, lack of adequate financial and organisational support for maintenace of the works, lack of motivation, lack of extension support, inadequate system for collecting and storing collateral data, and inadequate multidisciplinary capability of organisations for planning, implementing and monitoring the integrated plan have come to notice during the course of implementation of the programme. It is, therefore, necessary that a comprehensive reappraisal/evaluation of the working of the programme is carried out to ascertain to what extent the deficiencies referred to above have hampered realisation of the objectives of the programme and what remedial steps would need to be taken. Evaluation studies are to be undertaken both by Central and State agencies in the CAD Projects so as to determine the socio-economic impact of the programme in different areas.


3.65 The investment funds for the CAD Programme are derived from the public sector (the States and the Centre), financial institutions and private resources. The outlay envisaged for the Seventh Plan is as follows:

(Rs. crore)
(a) States 1,161.91
(b) Union Territories 8.80
(c) Central Sector 500.00
Total 1,670.71

In addition, an investment of Rs. 100 crores is envisaged from institutional sources. The targets for the Seventh Plan are as follows:

Million hectares
(i) Construction of field channels 6.81
(ii) Land levelling/shaping 1.82
(iii) Warabandi 8.03

Annexures 3.7 to 3.10 give the State-wise break-up of outlays and benefits.

Water Management

3.66 Efficient water management should aim at better use of land and water resources to achieve higher levels of agricultural production. The objective of water management is to provide a suitable moisture environmentto the crops to achieve optimum yields. The technology is location-specific and is governed by the nature and extent of water availability, soil and climatic conditions and the terrain of the area to be irrigated. With the advent of high-yielding varieties of crops and expansion of irrigation facilities, the cropping pattern is undergoing a change in various commands. The demand for water has become more exacting and the need for efficient management of land and water has assumed greater importance. Although significant improvement in water management leading to higher levels of yield has been achieved on account of the implementation of the programme, much remains to be done in this direction. Greater emphasis would be placed on improving water management in the irrigation commands with a view to augment agricultural production. In order to achieve improved water management, proper linkages have to be developed in the implementation of the programme in such a way that the irrigation engineers, agriculture scientists and those engaged in managing irrigated agriculture could properly coordinate their activities in accomplishing this difficult task. It is important that the lab-to-field flow is accelerated with the help of appropriate and specific trial and pilot projects. These will be given increased attention in the Seventh Plan.


3.67 Systematic action on flood control was initiated after the precedental and devastating floods of 1954 in several parts of the country. The total area liable to flood is estimated at 32 million hectares. At the beginning of the Sixth Plan, the total investment on flood control programmes since the First Plan was Rs. 976 crores and benefit-areas were estimated at 11.2 million hectares.

Review of Sixth Plan

3.68 The Sixth Plan envisaged a target of 4 million hectares for protection from floods and the investment proposed was Rs. 1045 crores. A review of the implementation of the programme revealed that the physical coverage likely to be achieved in the Sixth Plan would be only about 2 million hectares. The anticipated expenditure on the programme during the Plan period was Rs. 790 crores, as against the approved outlay of Rs. 1045 crores. The shortfall was mainly due to inadequate outlays provided in the State Plans from year to year due to either overall constraints of resources or preferential treatment to other sectors of development. Another reason for the shortfall in physical achievement was the upward revision of the cost estimates on account of inflation and increased allocation required for works connected with stabilising the benefits already created, like raising and strengthening existing embankments, spurs for bank protection.

3.69 Although the outlays for the flood control programme have been increased from year to year in the successive Five Year Plans and more areas are protected, the estimated value of damage due to floods has been on the increase. It was estimated that the total relief expenditure in the Sixth Plan would be Rs. 1,200 crores as against the investment of Rs. 780 crores on the protection programme during the Plan period. The relief expenditure which is larger than the Plan investment should normally help in stabilising the benefits from the flood control schemes by proper restoration. A review of the manner in which the relief expenditures are coordinated to achieve the desired results is called for. One of the reasons which contribute to increased damage is the lack of maintenance of existing works. It is important that the annual maintenance grants as recommended by the Finance Commission are earmarked by the States for maintenance of flood control schemes in order to reduce the incidence of flood damage and also consequent increase in the capital investment later.

3.70 The Rashtriya Barh Ayog which was set up in 1976 submitted the report in March, 1980. The recommendations of the Ayog, which have been conveyed to the States, have to be implemented with vigour in the Seventh Plan and their progress should be reviewed by the Ministry of Irrigation and Power (Department of Irrigation) from time to time.

3.71 The network of flood forecasting and warning centres that have been established have afforded great help in timely flood warning for evacuation of people in order to prevent loss of life and minimise damage to property.

3.72 The encroachment of flood plains, in spite of the various laws for controlling development in these plains, has been one of the causes for increased flood damage. While enactment of suitable flood zoning laws has been recommended to the States, many States have not passed such legislation. It has, therefore, not been possible to adopt a rational and practical basis for estimating the flood damage and collection of statistics on uniform basis. In the absence of the master plans for the river basins, it has not been possible for the authorities to identify exactly the areas which will be affected by floods of different intensities. It is, therefore, necessary for the States to prepare maps delineating the flood-affected areas in order to deal with the flood problem scientifically.

3.73 The intensity of floods in the various river basins is very much determined by the extent of denundation of forests and lack of other conservation measures in the catchment areas leading to heavy soil erosion and heavy silt load in the river. Although soil conservation measures in some river valley catchments have been taken up in the last two decades, mainly to reduce the silt load in the reservoirs and prolong their life, these measures have not been attempted in other flood-prone river valleys. Recognising the importance of soil conservation and afforestation in the catchment areas of such river valleys for reducing the flood havoc, new schemes of watershed management were taken up in Himalayan region during the Fifth Plan. Although the extension of such schemes to other basins was emphasised in the Sixth Plan, not much has happened in this direction. In the Seventh Plan, it would be necessary to have schemes for watershed management for the river basins in the chronically flood-affected areas.

Programme for the Seventh Plan

3.74 The target propsed for the Seventh Plan for flood protection is 2.5 million hectares. Besides protection of towns and important installations, anti-erosion measures to stabilise the benefits from the existing schemes would also be taken up. The investment proposed for the Seventh Plan is as follows:

  (Rs. crores)

  1. States 726.38
  2. Union Territories 71.08
  3. Central Sector   149.93

Total . 947.39

Strategy for the Seventh Plan

3.75 In the implementation of the flood control programme, the following strategy will be followed:

  1. The continuing flood control schemes from pre-Sixth and Sixth Plan periods would be funded within the available resources for quick action during the Plan period. Emergency schemes would, however, receive priority attention in the vulnerable areas.
  2. Funds for large flood-control schemes costing more than Rs. 2 crores and inter-State schemes would be earmarked and their implementation monitored by the CWC and Ganga Flood Control Commission (GFCC).
  3. Inter-State schemes, which have suffered due to lack of proper matching allocation of funds by the concerned States, would be adequately funded for their speedy completion.
  4. Preparations of a Master Plan for Flood Management, after collecting hydrological and meteorological data and field investigations would be taken up so that the area prone to flood is properly delineated on maps in the scale of 1:50000. The CWC, GFCC and the Brahamputra River Board will assist the States in the preparation of the Master Plan.
  5. Monitoring of the implementation of the Flood Control Programme by the States and Central agencies mentioned above will be actively taken up by creating suitable cells at the project/State and Central levels.
  6. Scientific evaluation of flood control measures to assess the area actually protected would be continued both by the States and the Central agencies. For putting the flood control and anti-erosion measures on a better scientific basis, more stress will be laid on fundamental research activities in this field. For this purpose, activities through field experimental research stations will be accelerated by research institutes at the State and Central levels.
  7. For the introduction of flood-plain zoning measures, the survey activities through the Survey of India would be continued. The States would be persuaded to enact suitable legislation for flood-plain zoning.
  8. The maintenance of flood control works has been considerably hampered due to inadequate allocation of funds. The States should provide adequate funds in their budgets for maintenance on the basis of the recommendations of the Eighth Finance Commission. In order to augment resources for maintenance, a flood cess may be imposed on the beneficiaries in the areas protected. Although some States have enacted legislation for imposing flood cess, collection of revenue on this account has not been upto expectations. This may be vigorously implemented in the Seventh Plan.
  9. The flood forecasting network will be extended to cover other inter-State rivers so far not covered by the Central agencies conerned. The State Government should also take   up this programme for the respective flood-prone rivers.
  10. Before taking up new embankment schemes, the effects of such existing works should be carefully   examined so as to consider alternative measures along with proposals for  new embankments.Emphasis will be laid on collecting data on model/prototype specifications confirmity for future on the coursecorrection measures.
  11. Soil conservation and afforestation programmes in the various river valleys should be intensified in order to  reduce the silt load in rivers and also the intensity of downstream floods.
  12. The Programme for anti-sea erosion works would be continued in order to complete it within a specified  time schedule. Similar works in the coastal States will also be taken up, where necessary.
  13. The Brahamputra River Board which has been set up by an Act of Parliament to prepare a long-term Master plan for the Brahamputra Valley will have a time-bound  programme for completion of that Master  Plan. The Board would also help the States in the north-eastern region in implementing the Flood Control   Programme in the   Brahamputra Valley against a long-term perspective, including effects to tackle the immediate problems of erosion and drainage improvement, etc. Appropriate prototype  studies needed for  tackling the erosion problem of large rivers like the Brahamputra and the Ganga would be initiated in the  Seventh Plan.
  14. Initiating action for systematic studies of river morphology and river mechanics for combating floods and  river erosion. Emphasis will be laid on the preparation of a  basinwise Master Plan for the Seventh Plan  Schemes in the Flood Control Sector.
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