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State-Level Round Table
State Funding to Combat Agricultural Drought

How does the state of Karnataka fare in allocating funds for micro-irrigation implementation? Does the state need to overhaul the limiting constraints of its existing micro-irrigation strategies?

On November 28th, the state-level round table, organised by ISEC in collaboration with HSS, acted as a very critical platform for the project. The round table brought the state and district level government officials, NGOs, farmers and people from academia together to discuss the nature and scope of the state funding to fight droughts through water use efficiency and micro-irrigation technologies. The round table focused on the following three key aspects: 

  • Demand or supply side allocation of funds for agricultural drought
  • Efficacy of budget allocation
  • Efficiency of fund utilization

On the ground, need is felt for more fund in the form of subsidies for the adoption of micro-irrigation by the farmers. Strangely enough, Yadgir is a fund/grant surrendering district. Both farmers and government officials have different perspectives on the grant surrendering issue. What is clear from the ISEC’s preliminary study is that the farmers need to be made more aware of the government schemes and provision of subsidies for MI implementation. The state and district officials should do a press release in the local newspaper about the budget sanctioned for the MI subsidy and amount utilized/returned by the district, requested the farmers. That will help them take appropriate steps to utilize the allocated subsidy for the district and talking to district level officers for further action. The district level government departments should extend more support to the farmers for marketing their produce, ensure availability of requested varieties of seeds and provide more information about the schemes of the government.

Actual rainfall in Yadgir is never too short of long-term annual average. There are several measures to make the fields drought-proof such as creation and de-siltation of farm pond/ percolation ponds, spacing between the plants, water conservation through 'Trench cum Bunding', appropriate usage of fertilizers (Potash and DAP) and adoption of Solar Pumps with subsidy. Adoption of Drip/Sprinkler irrigation is an appropriate method, both for water use optimization and as drought proofing measures. But, as of now, Precision Farming, due to its cost of installation is limited to corporate and big farmers.  Efforts may be made to make precision farming affordable to most farmers. Else, we will be at the receiving side of climate change.

A white paper Agricultural Drought: Farmers’ Perception and Combat Strategies was unveiled and shared with the participants. The Paper provides an incisive analysis to get quickly to the heart of the issues faced by farmers in adopting the micro-irrigation technologies. Despite the state government taking up various policy initiatives to deepen the coverage of micro irrigation, the state has miles to go before it reaches a satisfactory level for complete drought proofing in Karnataka. The Paper combines experts' inputs and farmers' perceptions from the fields on MI adoption to develop strategies to combat droughts. This will help the state and district level officials to shape the formation and implementation of policies in line with ground realities. The paper can be downloaded from here:

The roundtable made the following policy recommendations for consideration of the state and district authorities.

  • Drought declaration should be based on the Telemetric Monitoring System.
  • There should be Drought Relief Monitoring Associations for each district.
  • The revenue department should be kept outside drought management. It should be managed by the agriculture department.
  • State plans should detail the extent of area to be covered and district specific details for subsidy allocations.
  • Subsidy allocations should be demand-based and equally spaced.
  • The formation of Self-Help Groups for optimization of MI in each district is a must.