Inception Workshop for SANDEE Funded Project on The Role of Subsidy Policy in Enhancing Adoption of Micro - Irrigation Systems (MIS) in Gujarat, February 20, 2015

The Gujarat Institute of Development Research (GIDR), Ahmedabad organized an Inception Workshop on February 20, 2015, as part of launching the SANDEE supported research study on "Will Climate Change Adaptation Enhance Farm Productivity? A Study of Micro-Irrigation Systems (MIS) in Gujarat, India", undertaken by Chandra Sekhar Bahinipati and P.K. Viswanathan. The objective was to present the context and contents of the study and seek suggestions from researchers, policy makers, civil society members, etc.

The event had two Technical Sessions. Initially, Mr. Chandra Sekhar Bahinipati and Dr. P. K. Viswanathan presented the proposed research plan of the study. The preliminary investigation reports three major findings. First, the Government of Gujarat (GoG) has constituted a nodal agency in 2005, Gujarat Green Revolution Company Limited (GGRC), to promote micro-irrigation (MI) in the state with providing subsidies, which differ with respect to social groups, geographical location and size of landholdings. Second, ever since the launching of the scheme, the adoption rate had continuously increased in Gujarat. Third, the state policy on promotion of MI also insists that the farmers in the dark zone areas (54 talukas consisting of 4102 villages and towns) should adopt MI as a sustainable groundwater management strategy. There was a spurt in the adoption of MI in these areas since 2011. In the context of the changing policy regime, the study poses two research questions: (i) does subsidy matter for rapid diffusion of MI in recent years, especially in the dark-zone talukas?, and (ii) does this technology help the farmers to save water and energy? (Theoretically, this technology aims to achieve water and energy security, offering as a ‘sustainable adaptation' strategy).

The second Technical Session included three special lectures related to implementation of MIS in Gujarat. While the first two lectures by Mr. Dhimant Vyas (Gujarat Water Resource Development Corporation) and Mr. Chirag S. Vankar (GGRC) briefly highlighted the major interventions undertaken by the GoG towards promotion of MI in recent years, the last lecture by Prof. Peter Mollinga, titled, "Technology and Management: Micro-Irrigation in Canal Irrigation" touched upon the political economy dimensions of diffusion of irrigation technologies, particularly MI, across different states of India.

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