Water productivity mapping of major Indian crops

With India staring at a looming water crisis, a new study on ‘water productivity mapping of major crops’ has called for putting a price on water used for irrigation to at least recover operating and maintenance costs of structures like canals. It has also called for an end to free power, which has been used indiscriminately to exploit groundwater resources. The study, conducted jointly by Nabard and Icrier, has also advocated disincentivising cultivation of water-intensive crops like sugarcane in Maharashtra and rice in Punjab and moving them to eastern Indian states through better procurement policies. Rice, wheat and sugarcane, which together account for 43 per cent of the total cropped area in the country, consume almost 80 per cent of available freshwater.

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