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Water More Valuable Than Land

In our country, about 83 percent of the available water is used for irrigation in agriculture. It is estimated that the demand of water for the purpose of irrigation will further increase. The significance of irrigation in our country also enhances because of the fact that 58 percent of our population depends on agriculture and its related activities for their livelihood. Highlighting the importance of irrigation Sir Charles Trevelyan has aptly remarked, ''irrigation is everything in India; water is even more valuable than land.'' Irrigation is not only an insurance against the vagaries of nature but also helps in raising the productivity of land.

Since independence, emphasis has been put on the expansion and development of irrigation infrastructure to boost agriculture production. The actual irrigation potential created has rises from 22.6 million hectares in 1950-51 to around 102.8 million hectares in 2006-07. About

42.4 million hectares of irrigation potential has been created through major and medium projects whereas over 60.4 million hectares through minor irrigation projects. It is noted that about 74 percent of the total exploitable irrigation potential has potential from all available sources is estimated about 139.9 million hectares, in which the estimated share of major and medium projects is about 58.3 million hectares and 81.6 million hectares through minor irrigation projects.

Our government has implemented many policies to assure water for irrigation in agriculture. National Water Policy was adopted in 1987 to control the excessive exploitation of water and conserve the water sources and resources so that the development of agriculture can be ensured. In the same way, Bharat Nirman Yojana was initiated for the period 200506 to 2008-09 for the infrastructural development of rural areas. In this program, irrigation is considered as the main component of agriculture. The target was laid down to create irrigation potential of 10 million hectares.

 
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