The Fact News Service
Chandigarh, October 12
In a major step towards groundwater preservation, Punjab Soil and Water Conservation Minister Rana Gurjeet Singh today launched www.tupkasinchayee.punjab.gov.in, a portal for implementation of Micro Irrigation scheme in the state of Punjab.
Launching the online platform at State Level Programme at the Soil Conservation Complex here, Rana Gurjeet said Punjab is making all-out efforts to arrest the fast depleting level of groundwater in state adding that the success of this endeavour would greatly benefit our farmers while taking a huge leap towards making our agriculture economically ecologically sustainable.
Lauding the department for this timely initiative, the Minister said the online micro irrigation portal would introduce greater efficiency and would vastly benefit the farmers, giving them a option to apply for micro irrigation systems from the comfort of their home besides this will also enhance transparency as farmer shall be able to monitor on real time, the stage of his or her application is.
Rana Gurjeet, who himself has been an innovative and progressive farmer underlined for need of conserving water resources in wake of grave situation, especially in context of deteriorating ground water situation in the state.
The micro irrigation scheme, which involves installation of drip and sprinkler system of irrigation was initiated in its present form during year 2007 and since has been subsumed under umbrella programme of Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sichayee Yojana.
Punjab is providing 80% subsidy to general category farmers and 90% subsidy to Scheduled Caste/Tribe, Women and Small/Marginal category farmers, which is one of the highest subsidy percentage available across the country, the Minister pointed out.
The central share in subsidy is however declining over the years but state is continuing to provide this subsidy from its own resources, he added.
The programme was being implemented in the state through manual mode where farmer had to submit an application by visiting nearest Soil and Water Conservation Office, which was further processed through often slow moving physical processes which sometimes even took weeks to approve.
Quoting recent ground water study, he said that Punjab will in all practicality be devoid of ground water upto 1000 feet if the present rate of ground water extraction continues. This will mean higher cost for pumping ground water which will reduce farmers’ income. It is worthwhile to mention here that Rana Gurjit Singh has been highlighting Punjab’s agriculture and water issues in the house due to which a committee to address ground water issues was formed by the Government in March, 2021. Commenting broadly on the committee report, which has already been submitted to Speaker but is yet to be tabled in Vidhan Sabha, he said that we have touched upon every aspect of water and this report will surely serve as an outline for implementing water sector programmes in every sector.
He further informed that as agriculture is largest consumer of water resources, major stress in the report has been laid on increasing efficiency in irrigation sector.
Reiterating the Punjab Government’s commitment to welfare of farmers, he called upon officials to develop more such innovations by leveraging technology as smart farming is the future of agriculture. He also called upon department to explore and develop an online portal on soils, wherein farmer can get micro level information of his soils on real time basis and apply nutrient which is needed, which will check excess fertilizer consumption and lower input cost and increase profit margin for the farmer.
Seema Jain, Additional Chief Secretary, Soil and Water Conservation Punjab speaking on the occasion congratulated the department for launching the micro irrigation online portal which would not only bring about ease for the farmers in applying and processing their cases. Sheb said that it would also be helpful for the departmental officials as there shall be almost zero chance of error in preparation of estimates and because all of it shall be generated online on pre-programmed data. This online application shall also bring about more transparency as farmer shall be able to view his application stage and officer at each level shall have to dispose application in a given time.
Speaking on looming water crisis, she said that main focus of the department over the last few years has been on water conservation programme in agriculture sector through underground pipelines and micro irrigation besides developing alternate water sources like treated water from sewerage plants for use in agriculture to reduce ground water extraction.
Rajesh Vashisht, Chief Conservator of Soils, Punjab while explaining the working of this online portal informed that now farmer can apply for micro irrigation from his phone or computer. He will need only basic documents like Identity, Address and Land record proof which shall have to be uploaded along with application along with the crop and type of system i.e drip or sprinkler, he wants to opt for. Upon submission of application, farmer will receive an cost estimate and payable subsidy detail after his satisfaction he can confirm his application for further processing. All the component specifications and rates have been pre-fed in to the online system and all estimates shall be generated online, eliminating any calculation error. Once the farmer confirms his application it will move at various levels like section, sub division, division etc level through online mode only, with each level given a fixed time frame for processing the application. Farmer will receive SMS at various levels regarding processing of its application. Once the application is approved by competent authority, farmer along with the vendor will be notified and the latter will install the system at farmer’s field which shall be physically verified by department official by taking the field’s GPS coordinates, which will also be fed on this online portal.