Micro-Irrigation In India

Microirrigation refers to the slow application of water on localized volume of soil by surface drip, subsurface drip, bubbler, and microsprinkler systems. Water applies in such irrigation wets a part of the soil so it is also called localized irrigation.

Importance of Micro-irrigation

Today, India is considered to be a water stressed country. We were highly water-surplus in 1950s. This change has come mainly due to two reasons. First – increasing population; and second – highly wasteful flood method of irrigation (FMI). Given that around 65% of irrigation and 85% if the drinking water comes from the groundwater resources, majority of the groundwater sources in the country are registering a fall in water levels. To arrest the decline in per capita water availability and per capita foodgrain availability, we need to increase production with judicious water use in farming.

Its importance also increases given that 140 million hectares is owned millions of farmers with an average farm size of less than two hectares.

Micro irrigation systems (MIS) not only address the problem of water scarcity but also effectively save fertiliser consumption per unit of land. This is because in MIS, nutrients are released through the system, instead of their application on top of the soil leading to wastage during the periodic flooding of fields under FMI. More, water and nutrients floating in the fields let weeds flourish.

Government Policy on Micro-irrigation

All governments support micro-irrigation because of its water use efficiency. The government of India had launched a subsidy scheme for micro-irrigation called National Mission on Micro Irrigation (NMMI) in 2006. This is a centrally sponsored scheme which promotes water-use efficiency by adopting drip and sprinkler irrigation.  All States and Union Territories and all horticultural as well as agricultural crops are covered under the scheme.

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