Irrigation Policy: Accelerated Irrigation Benefits Program (AIBP)

The Central Government launched the Accelerated Irrigation Benefit Programme (AIBP) from 1996-97 for extending loan assistance to states for the completion of near complete irrigation scheme.

Rationale and Objectives

AIBP was specifically started because a large number of river valley projects – both major and medium – have spilled from plan to plan, mainly because of financial constraints of state governments. Some of these projects were in an advanced stage of construction and could provide irrigation benefits in four or five agricultural seasons. The completion of these projects, however, was beyond the resources capability of the State Governments.

Performance

The assistance provided was entirely in the form on loan in the beginning but later a grant component was also added in 2005. The central support was further relaxed in 2006 for special category states, DPAP (Drought Prone Area Programme) states, Tribal Areas, Flood Prone Areas and KBK(Koraput-Balangir-Kalahandi ) area of Odisha.

However, this scheme could not succeed in its objectives because creating irrigation potential and making it actually deliver are two different things. If we look at the CAG and PAC reports, we find that this scheme has neither achieved desired results nor was saved from irregularities. In fact, a 2011 PAC report called it a big scam, bigger than many others.

Unless there is a strong monitoring system, such schemes easily fall prey to glaring deficiencies and irregularities resulting into time and cost over runs. The key reasons as to why both CAD and AIBP schemes failed to deliver is that the work is confined to construction of the main canal. Unless distributory network is properly in place, the main canal is useless. Poor planning and lack of proper monitoring by Central Water resources ministry has been main reason for these under achievements.

Current Status

Currently, this scheme has been subsumed as a component of Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana discussed in next article.

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