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Unformatted text preview: 80 Gauri Khanna 4 Gauri Khanna is a PhD Candidate in International Economics at the Graduate Institute of International Studies, Geneva (email@example.com). I MPROVING A GRICULTURAL E FFICIENCY A MONGST G ROUNDWATER U SERS : T HE C ASE OF S UGARCANE IN N ORTH I NDIA * Gauri Khanna This paper estimates inequities in production and income for different categories of water users in the context of a rapidly depleting resource by estimating technical inefficiency using frontier techniques. The research is based on primary survey data from a North Indian village that shares characteristics commonly observed in other groundwater-dependant agricul- tural areas. Estimated technical efficiency scores are highest on plots where water is sourced from a privately owned tubewell, followed by plots serviced by partnered tubewells and lowest on plots where water is bought. Income gains from improved efficiency follow the reverse patterns with the largest gains of Rupees (Rs) 1082 per bigha 1 estimated for buyers plots and Rs. 649 per bigha for plots with their own tubewell with the average of Rs. 867 for all plots. A policy package of improved power, joint ownership of tubewells, farmer training and better water transportation systems are prescribed as policy measures to alleviate the differences amongst water users. I NTRODUCTION Since independence, Indias gross irrigation potential has increased nearly five-fold and foodgrain production has quadrupled (Government of In- 81 Improving Agricultural Efficiency Amongst Groundwater Users: The Case of Sugarcane in North India * dia 2002) transforming the nation from food deficiency to food surplus. Between 70 and 90 percent of available water in India is used to meet the irrigation needs of the country, leaving the remainder for industry and the domestic sector. The utilisation of groundwater sources has played a key role in altering the agricultural profile and in achieving food security. Groundwater development has largely been through private initiative and has grown at an alarming pace; for example, in Uttar Pradesh, net irrigated area by private tubewells grew from 48 thousand hectares in 1960-61 to 5095 thousand hectares in 1984-85 (Le Moigne et al. 1992). This rapid expan- sion has been supported by measures such as rural electrification programs and availability of credit. Further, the advantages of secure and controlled access proffered by investment in improved groundwater extraction devices, and a shift to the production of water-intensive crops such as sugarcane and paddy, has led to a surge in tubewells. The lack of any concrete laws on groundwater in India, which essentially allows anyone owning land to have unlimited access to the water beneath it, provides an added incentive to construct tubewells. The distortion in groundwater markets produced by subsidized electricity and diesel oil has led to over-extraction of water; for the resource, this means a decline in water tables and a threat to its...
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