Question : Financing of Irrigation and Interlinking of Rivers Project

(a) whether many parts of the country are facing acute problems of water which can be solved by diverting water from water surplus basins by inter-linking of rivers and by checking the wastage of water that flows out to the seas and the country needs nearly Rs. 3-5 lakh crore as investment for irrigation and river inter-linking projects and if so, the details thereof;

(b) whether the Government has sought the help of multilateral institutions for financing irrigation and river interlinking projects and if so, the response of the multilateral institutions in this regard;

(c) whether the Government is considering to bring in innovative financing models for financing irrigation and river inter-linking projects and if so, the details thereof; and

(d) the steps taken by the Government to streamline the procedures?

Answer given by the minister



(a) It has been observed that there is a progressive reduction in per capita availability of water in the country on account of increase in population. As per year 2001 census, the average annual per capita availability of water in the country was 1816 m3/year, which has reduced to 1545 m3/year as per 2011 census. Further, projections for the year 2025 and 2050 are 1340 m3/year & 1140 m3/year respectively.
The National Perspective Plan (NPP) was prepared by the then Ministry of Irrigation, now Ministry of Water Resources, River Development & Ganga Rejuvenation (MoWR, RD & GR) in August 1980 for water resources development through inter basin transfer of water, for transferring water from water surplus basins to water-deficit basins. Under the NPP, the National Water Development Agency (NWDA) has identified 30 links ( 16 under Peninsular Component & 14

under Himalayan Component) for preparation of Feasibility Reports (FRs). Pre-Feasibility Reports (PFRs) of the all 30 links have been prepared and circulated to the concerned State Governments. After survey and investigations, FRs of 14 links under Peninsular Component and FRs of 2 links and draft FRs of 7 links (Indian portion) under Himalayan Component have been completed.
The total expenditure on Inter Linking of Rivers (ILR) programme was estimated to be Rs.5.6 lakh crores (2002-03 price level) based on NWDA studies. National Council of Applied Economic Research has estimated that the cost of ILR project to be Rs.4.44 lakh crore (2003-04 price level). The exact requirement on realistic basis can be known only after the preparation of Detailed Project Reports of all the links.
(b) to (d) During 2016-17, ninety nine (99) ongoing Major/Medium Irrigation Projects under Accelerated Irrigation Benefits Programme (AIBP) having ultimate irrigation potential of 76.03 lakh ha., have been prioritized in consultation with States along with their Command Area Development & Water Management (CADWM) works. For completion of these projects in a mission mode, funding mechanism under Long Term Irrigation Fund (LTIF) through National Bank For Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) has been approved by the Government for both Central and State share. Funding from LTIF has also been extended to Polavaram Project in Andhra Pradesh and North Koel Project in Jharkhand. Different State Govt. are also availing external assistance from institution like Work Bank, JICA, ADB etc for irrigation projects.
Funds provided under LTIF to these 99 projects and Polavaram Project is as under:
Year Funds released
2016-17 9086.02
2017-18 8316.12

Further, a Group for Financial Aspects under TF-ILR was constituted on 12.09.2017 to consider the financial aspects of ILR projects and to suggest the funding pattern for implementing the same. Six meetings of the Group have been held so far, and the last meeting was held on 27.02.2018. The Group on Financial Aspects is considering innovative financing for inter-linking of rivers including external funding.


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