ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Reassessment of Irrigation Potential

Reassessment of Irrigation Potential B D Dhawan THAT there was something amiss with our statistics of irrigation potential, developed over the plans through public, private and institutional investments, arose time and again during the course of innumerable probings by academic persons into the problem of underutilisation of irrigation capacity in India. Misgivings about their being on the high side were reinforced whenever the reported estimates of irrigation potential utilised were compared by some scholars with data from alternative sources. For example, these estimates have tended to exceed the levels based on our agricultural land records. At the end of the Sixth Five- Ycar Plan (i e, 1984-85), the national plan figure of gross irrigated area was placed at 60.58 mha, almost 6 mha more than the corresponding figure of 54.67 mha as per the compilation from land utilisation records. More up-to-date comparison is not possible because data from land record sources are available with a lag of 4-5 year period. In viewof this lag planners are forced to rely on data in respect of plan achievements (in respect of irrigation potential created and utilised) as per the reports of the states which in turn, go by the claims made in this regard by their irrigation departments manned mostly by engineers.

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