March 29, 2016

2016: ITP Highlight # 03

Several state governments offer capital subsidies for solar pumps. Do these subsidies provide affordable irrigation to small and marginal farmers? Durga and others discuss results from field studies in Bihar...

Can solar pumps energize Bihar's agriculture?

Neha Durga, Shilp Verma, Nishita Gupta, Ravi Kiran and Ananta Pathak

With improved affordability and plenty of support from the central and state governments, solar irrigation pumps are slowly capturing the interest of farmers in Bihar. Launched in 2012, Bihar Saur Kranti Sinchai Yojna (BSKSY) offers up to 90 per cent capital subsidy on solar pumps to smallholder farmers. Based on recent field studies in Bihar, this highlight presents an early appraisal of BSKSY and its impact on increasing irrigated area and expanding access to affordable irrigation among small and marginal farmers. We argue that rather than the current policy of offering high capital subsidies on solar irrigation pumps, competitive solar irrigation service markets can better serve the objective of providing affordable irrigation to small and marginal farmers.

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