Model Question and Answers for APSC | What is the intensity of Irrigation in India? Throw some light on its regional variation and agricultural impact in India. (APSC 2014)
Ans : Intensity of irrigation is defined as the percentage of net irrigated area to the net sown area.
The intensity of irrigation in these areas is invariably above 60 per cent and in some parts of Punjab it exceeds 75 per cent. Dry areas of Ladakh district in Jammu and Kashmir and Lahaul and Spiti district in Himachal Pradesh cannot raise crops without irrigation. Although exact data are not available, these areas are believed to have 100 percent intensity of irrigation. Large parts of the northern plain and east coastal plain have average intensity varying from 30-60 percent. Parts of Brahmaputra Plain, the Chambal Valley and those of the peninsular plateau have low intensity of irrigation varying from 15 to 30 per cent. The areas of low intensity are those which either do not need irrigation by virtue of high and dependable rainfall or they have not been able to develop irrigation facilities due to unfavourable geographical conditions such as rugged topography, infertile soils, lack of surface and groundwater, etc.
In this category are large parts of Rajasthan to the west of the Aravali Range, parts of Bihar plain, central part of Peninsular plateau, the Maharashtra and Kerala coasts, Manipur, Mizoram and Tripura. Andaman and Nicobar Islands have zero percent intensity of irrigation due to adequate rainfall throughout the year.
Agricultural impact of Irrigation intensity:
1. Cropping intensity and irrigation intensity are two significant indicators for measuring the agricultural development of a region.
2. Cropping intensity essentially determines the nature of crop production and the cropping pattern, the scope for crop diversity and crop rotation, opportunities with regard to farming incomes, and rural employment.
3. The availability of irrigation water and its proper usage largely controls the extent of cropping intensity.
4. The scope of employment opportunities and the poverty levels in rural areas are influenced by variations in the cropping intensity between irrigated and unirrigated regions.
5. Migration from low cropping intensity regions, resulting from rainfed agriculture or poorly developed irrigation systems, to regions with available irrigation water is a common scenario in the rural economies in India.