November 5, 2012

2012: Highlight # 31

The 6700 Crore NIMF proposes to incentivize ISF collection. Nair, Panchal and Agrawal explore how a system of third party verification can be operationalized to implement the NIMF...

Chasing the Paper Trail in an Irrigation System

Guidance for third party verification or the release of incentives under the National Irrigation Management Fund

Nisha Nair, Raja Panchal and Rahul Agrawal

India’s 12th Five Year Plan proposes a National Irrigation Management Fund (NIMF) designed to catalyze management reform in India’s public irrigation systems which suffer from low recovery of irrigation service fee (ISF), skimpy maintenance budgets, and persistent decline in system infrastructure. NIMF will provide 100 percent incentive to irrigation agencies for all Irrigation Service Fee (ISF) they collect from farmers, 130 percent for the ISF collected through Water User Associations and 150 percent for ISF collected based on volumetric water supply to WUAs. These incentive payments will be made based on a third party verification of the claims made by irrigation agencies.

To explore how to design a quick, efficient and cost-effective third party verification, management students were deployed to understand the ISF assessment and collection process in four states and the paper trail these generate. This Highlight summarizes the results of this student research which may provide guidance in the design of third party verification for claims submitted to the NIMF. The process may also be tweaked to generate an array of monitoring data useful for performance benchmarking of public irrigation systems.

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