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Equity by accident, or by design?

Some Indian states impose no water tariffs on farmers

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Arunabha Ghosh
Irrigation is the lifeline of India’s agrarian economy. Yet, it is a poorly delivered service for millions of farmers. Major and medium irrigation covers a third of net sown area, but the irrigation potential utilised was 23 per cent lower in 2011-12. Could farmers expect better service, not just a build-neglect-rebuild approach to irrigation? Could economic efficiency reconcile with social equity?

Since 1995, the Accelerated Irrigation Benefits Programme triggered a surge in capital investment in irrigation capacity. Poor maintenance and service meant that large irrigation was not adequately used. Farmers increasingly rely on groundwater, which meets more than 60 per cent
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First Published: Feb 27 2018 | 6:10 AM IST

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