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Since the advent of green revolution in late 1960s, groundwater played an important role in the agricultural and economic development of India. However, large expansion in well irrigation due to policies of promoting private tube well construction, rural electrification programme and subsidies on electricity and diesel for agricultural use resulted in groundwater over-abstraction largely in north-western, western and peninsular India. As most of the measures to regulate groundwater overuse in India have met with little success, this chapter examines the viability of alternative institutional and economic instruments for sustainable groundwater irrigation. Analysis suggests that the enforcement of private and tradable property rights in groundwater can bring about a significant increase in farm outputs, with a reduction in the aggregate demand for water in agriculture. It will also bring about more equitable access to, and control over, the water available from groundwater for food production and thus ensure household-level food security. This has to be complemented by the pro-rata pricing of electricity in the farming sector, with improved quality and reliability of the supplied power.
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- Groundwater Depletion in India: Potential of Alternative Approaches and Policy Instruments
- Chapter 3
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