The Prime Minister chaired a high-level meeting comprising top officials from the Ministries of Agriculture, Water Resources, Rural Development, and Finance, besides the NITI Aayog and the PMO.
He asked for a relook at the administrative mechanisms, financial arrangements and technology applications in the irrigation sector, to result in a shorter, more comprehensive decision-making process. This could deliver quick results for the farmers.
The Prime Minister also reviewed the preparations for the Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchai Yojana.
He said expansion of irrigation has to be linked with a comprehensive evaluation of cropping patterns across states.
He added that a thorough study should be made of various traditional irrigation methods across the country.
The Prime Minister said young researchers from Universities should be involved in irrigation-policy planning.
He said irrigation plans need to be worked out at the district level. He said that young officers from the civil services should be asked to propose district-level irrigation plans.
Exhorting officials to treat the challenge of below-normal rainfall as an opportunity, the Prime Minister called for an intensive short-term effort to boost the creation of farm ponds across the country.
The Prime Minister noted that falling ground-water levels in some states made it essential to bring about an urgent shift in cropping-patterns.
He called for focus on maize, and initiatives in value-addition in maize, to make it more attractive for farmers.
Union Minister for Water Resources Uma Bharati, Union Minister for Rural Development Chaudhary Birender Singh, and Union Minister of State for Agriculture Sanjeev Balyan were present at the meeting.