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The chief minister of Haryana Manohar Lal Khattar organised a press conference on June 11, 2020 stating that the government is going to build 1000 bore wells for the purpose of recharging ground water under the scheme Mera Pani Meri Virasat. This scheme has been initiated by the government for conserving ground water for future generations. These bore wells would be constructed by the government with the cost ratio of 10:90. This means 90% of the cost would be spent by the government and rest 10% shall be taken from the farmer to whom the well would be given later on.
The purpose for introducing such scheme was that to save the ground water from further depletion. As paddy takes a great amount of water for it’s growth thus it is very important to stop it from further depletion. Haryana being an agrarian state, the majority of the economy depends on agriculture. About 17 lakh farmers live in the state and the government is making constant efforts for their welfare, progress and prosperity. And for that purpose only Haryana state has introduced this scheme. This scheme will focus on advising farmers to opt for crop diversification for securing ground water.
Under this scheme if the farmers agree to go for alternative crops like maize, pulses, oilseed or cotton in place of paddy then the government will be assisting these farmers financially. They will be given Rs. 7000 per acre of land along with other benefits. This request has been made to all the farmers who have opt for medium or large scale farming. They have been requested to grow other crops on 50% of their land where earlier they used to sow paddy.
The government has been constantly working to save water and for that they keep coming with different ideas. This scheme is one of such efforts.
Why was this scheme introduced?
Ground water considered to be the natural aquifer is one of the most essential natural resource available to us. About 33% of the water supply in households or public offices is through this ground water only. 90% of the population in rural areas is dependent on ground water for drinking because many times the city water supply departments or companies fail to provide them with basic necessity of water fit for drinking. In year 2015 about 48% of the irrigation process was done through this ground water and since then the water table has been decreasing at an alarming rate. Not only the irrigation is responsible for it’s depletion but also the increasing population is other major reason for it’s depletion.
If we talk about the countries like India, in which 70% of the economy depends on agriculture it becomes very important to save this ground water. If we talk about India then only some states have good agricultural land that can be used for crop production at large level. Some of those states can be Punjab, Haryana and Himachal etc. The entire country depends on these states for common crops like wheat or paddy. But this dependency has lead to another big issue and that is water depletion.
In Haryana the CM was on an investigating round to talk to farmers who grow paddy and check for the ground water. This came with the conclusion that in some areas this ground water has decreased to the level of 40 meters. There are around 36 areas in the state which have gone under the category of dark zones. Dark zones here mean that the level of depletion is double the amount expected. And there are areas where the water level has decreased to 35-40 meters due to excessive paddy cultivation. And the government fears that if this continues in the same way the entire state will convert into a dark zone.
Thus it was very important to take strong steps to control it. And that is why this scheme was introduced by the state government. The state government was of the view that the future generation would curse us if we do not stop now.
This scheme has been implemented in the state before the paddy season starts. In this scheme the farmers will be asked to opt for crop diversification. Secondly, this will help to save ground water considering the fact that each drop of water is essential. If the farmers agree with the government then the government will provide them with Rs. 7000 per acre of land along with other subsidies. Not only that this scheme will help the farmers to overcome the problem of migrant labour shortage due of Corona virus. Thus under the scheme these farmers can switch to crops which require less water such as maize, bajra, arhar dal, urad dal, til or cotton etc. Thus if everything works as planned then the ground water can be preserved for our future generations.
- Under the ‘Mera Pani Meri Virasat’ scheme if the farmers agrees to grow alternative crops which require less amount of water then they will be provided with the financial assistance of Rs. 7000 per acre of land along with other subsidies.
- The farmers registering under this scheme, their premium paid under Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY) will be paid by the state government itself.
- Not only this but the farmers who will be opting for horticulture will entitle themselves to the grant of Rs. 30,000 per acre.
- It is made with the aim to bring 1 lakh acre of land under for sowing alternative crops.
- As per Bhavantar Bharpai Yojana, 18 types of vegetables have also been included in the scheme. And around 10.11 crore has been distributed to the farmers.
- The government will also provide 80% subsidy to the farmers who opt for drip irrigation systems and other micro irrigation systems.
Aim and Objectives
- This scheme aims to improve the level of ground water by saving it today. And for that purpose the farmers have to opt for alternative crops which take less amount of water.
- It also aims to improve the conditions of farmers and fulfil all their needs. As the cm has done by taking to all the farmers.
- Thus through this scheme it is urged to save water, consume less ground water and improve its level.
- According to the scheme paddy cultivation has been banned in some areas like Shahabad, Pipli, Babain, Ismailabad, Siwan, Guhla etc. But it is depriving the farmers to grow paddy if they do not wish to opt for alternative crop cultivation as per the scheme. This clearly shows that there is no option available to the farmers rather it is a clear order from the government not to grow paddy in their own farms as stated by the opposition parties.
- Secondly, to stop the farmers from growing paddy in their fields the government is ensuring them financial support which may create doubts in the minds of farmers as this may or may get fully implemented and they had to give away their profits by growing paddy. Until and unless this doubt remains in the minds of farmers they may not opt for this solution.
From the above discussion it can be concluded that government is taking big initiatives by suggesting new ways in which ground water can be saved for the upcoming future generations. Along with that the government also holds the duty to make them all realise the importance of saving ground water.
They need to assure all the farmers that they will be financially assisted by the government and they would not suffer any losses. And they also need to clear the doubts rose by the opposition that how this scheme ensures that they are not taking away any right to grow crops. This is a good initiative by the government for our future and we need to support the government for its success. A little suffrage is not going to cost the future from upcoming generations. As we have not inherited the earth from our ancestors, we have borrowed it from our future generation.
Author: Rupinder Kaur from Symbiosis Law School, Noida.
Editor: Silky Mittal, Junior Editor, Lexlife India