Citizens' Issues
How Maharashtra water plan fails 10 mn farmers
In spite of consecutive droughts, Yavatmal and Washim districts have sent no tankers out. That may happen in the summer months of April, May and June, when the scarcity deepens
 
You would not think there was a worsening farm crisis in India’s second-largest agricultural economy if you met Jairam Jadhav in Maharashtra's central region of Marathwada, one of the areas facing a drought that equals the worst in a century.
 
Jadhav, 35, is a happy man. Despite two seasons of truant rains, his well has enough water to supply his 20-acres of sugarcane, cotton and pigeon pea farms for three hours a day. Last year, this time, he could do no better than an hour.
 
Thanks to the Maharashtra government’s ambitious Jalyukt Shivar Abhiyan (Irrigated Farmlands Programme), streams flowing through Jadhav’s village of Pandharwadi in the district of Beed were broadened, deepened and de-silted before the monsoons. His land is next to one of these refurbished streams, which allow more water to percolate through to his well.
 
About 250 km to the northeast in Vidarbha’s Washim district, Ramesh Marge, 35, is also pleased with the government’s efforts. His 45 acres of soya bean and cotton - he’s also planted some pulses and vegetables - in Gayaval village are flourishing.
 
Marge is acutely aware, though, of the great dry that has descended on the lives of farmers.
 
“When I was a kid, I used to bathe buffaloes in plenty of water in January and February. We do not see water in our village in October now,” said Marge. “Last year, we did not have enough water to wash our cattle during the pola (the summer harvest’s farm festivities, usually in October).”
 
In the same village, Shankar Choure showed IndiaSpend how his decade-old orange orchard is blooming. Thanks to a bund-built under the Jalyukt Shivar Abhiyan - that traps water, he runs four pumps to irrigate his 100 acres of farmland.
 
Choure, Marge and Jadhav have one thing in common - they are prosperous farmers with comparatively vast landholdings in a state where the average landholding is 1.44 acres, down from 1.86 acres two decades ago, according to Agricultural Census of India.
 
The proportion of small farmers (owning less than five acres) increased from 70 percent to 79 percent in the 1995-2011 period.
 
So, while the Jalyukt Shivar Abhiyan intends to make Maharashtra drought-free by 2019, it appears to have worked mainly for prosperous farmers. As the first part of this series showed (on January 2), a piecemeal approach of random work that ignores the geological water cycle of an area - a watershed - and spreads itself thin as the drought’s ravages spread is not helping millions of smaller farms.
 
In Choure’s village of Gayaval - that has the most number of Jalyukt Shivar projects in the taluka - about 60 percent of farmers own less than five acres of land. More than 10.7 million of the state’s 13.7 million farmers (or 79 percent) own less than five acres of land, according to the Agricultural Census of India. It is these farmers who bear the brunt of the drought.
 
Twelve times as many tankers roam 16 times as many villages
 
The Jalyukt Shivar Abhiyan is nothing if not ambitious: It aims to irrigate 19,059 of 40,000 villages in Maharashtra in 22 drought-affected districts by 2019. As many as 41,000 of proposed 0.14 million watershed projects have been completed in one year, according to the government.
 
Around 24 tmc feet (thousand million cubic feet) water-storage capacity has been added in the state due to the Jalyukt Shivar Abhiyan, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis told Economic Times in an interview.
 
On the ground, the drought’s effects grow, and more villages struggle.
 
Over the annual farming season in 2014, 1,377 villages from Beed in central Maharashtra were declared water-scarce; this year 1,403 villages are on that list. The government also declared as water-scarce 2,050 and 793 villages in the eastern districts of Yavatmal and Washim respectively in 2014, while no district was declared water-scarce over the 2015 kharif (monsoon) season.
 
In 2014, as a consequence of mostly adequate rainfall the previous year, 13 tankers supplied drinking water to 15 villages in Beed district. In 2015, two consecutive droughts compelled the administration to send more than 12 times the number of tankers to 16 times as many villages: 162 tankers roam 243 villages.
 
In spite of consecutive droughts, Yavatmal and Washim districts have sent no tankers out. That may happen in the summer months of April, May and June, when the scarcity deepens. 
 
Small and marginal farmers, defined as those with less than five acres of land, need Jalyukt Shivar the most. From the observations that IndiaSpend made, this is why the scheme is failing them:
 
In a typical village with 250 houses, only 30 to 50 benefit from the scheme, which is no more than 10-20 percent, while 80 percent have small farms.
 
Prosperous farmers tend to be near streams and wells, so they mainly benefit from the broadening and deepening. Wells in the same village located away from these streams have run dry, the inadequate attention to geological detail and local needs evident.
 
Malampatti (band-aid) cannot offer lasting solutions to irrigation crisis
 
“Although short-term measures are needed, that is only malampatti (band-aid solutions),” said Suresh Khanapurkar, the brain behind what is called the Shirpur Model for water conservation in the northern district of Dhule.
 
“There is no doubt that the depth and breadth of streams needs to be increased,” he said, “but the broadening and deepening must be carried out from the origin to end (where it meets a river).”
 
The total storage capacity in Maharashtra is around 1,340 TMC, of which 930 TMC is stored in large dams and 170 TMC each in medium and minor storage dams. Water storage in the state is thus heavily-tilted toward large dams.
 
With Fadnavis himself criticising large dams for their ineffectiveness in mitigating the drought’s effect, Jalyukt Shivar will need to play an important role in rescuing the livelihoods of 10 million farmers with holdings of five-acre or less.
 
Robert Browning said of human aspirations: “Man’s reach should exceed his grasp.” Jalyukt Shivar has grasped the need, but its reach is inadequate.
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.

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HDFC Bank Q3 net up
Chennai : Private sector HDFC Bank Ltd. on Monday said it closed the third quarter with around 20 percent growth in its net profit.
 
In a statement, the bank said it posted a net profit of Rs.3,356.84 crore for the quarter ended December 31, 2015, up from Rs.2,794.51 crore posted for the quarter ended December 31, 2014.
 
According to HDFC Bank, the total income for the period under review stood at Rs.18,283.31 crore, up from Rs.14,930.74 crore for the quarter ended December 31, 2014.
 
As on December 31, 2015, in quantum terms the bank's gross and net non-perfoming assets went up to Rs.4,255.20 crore and Rs.1.260.60 crore respectively from Rs.3,467.91 crore and Rs.903.66 crore as on December 31, 2014.
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.

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Funding up by 2.3 times in India start-ups: Jefferies
New Delhi : Indian start-up companies saw a 2.3 times increase in number of private equity (PE) or venture capital (VC) funding deals in 2015, which indicated a significant broadening of the sector beyond e-tailing, a recent Jefferies research note said here.
 
"There was a 2.3x increase in number of PE/VC funding deals in 2015 indicating a significant broadening of the sector beyond e-tailing," the research note said.
 
The report said fund raising from PE/VCs aggregated $5.7 billion in 2015 compared to $4.1 billion in 2014.
 
"While the December quarter was relatively muted with less than $1 billion of funds raised, we note that number of deals (of $5 million and above) still doubled year-on-year from 12 to 24."
 
According to the report, two key trends emerged in 2015 -- unlike in 2014 when e-tailing companies accounted for over 70 percent of money raised, 2015 saw significant diversification with many non-e-tailing companies raising more than $100 million of funding each.
 
Also, while the value of funds raised increased by 40 percent year-on-year, the number of deals increased 2.3 times from 49 to 112 indicating a significant increase in the breadth of companies.
 
The Indian government announced the Start-Up India Action Plan on January 16, where it gave an income tax holiday for three years and exemption from capital gains levies on venture capital investments to the start-ups.
 
"While there are some positive measures, the definition of start-ups to qualify for many of the schemes could be a limiting factor," the report stated.
 
A host of incentives were unveiled by Prime Minister Narendra Modi for start-ups, which included self-certification and a three-year exemption from inspections, an online portal and mobile app, an 80 percent cut in the patent application fee and a single-point hub for hand-holding.
 
He also announced a Rs.10,000 crore fund for new enterprises, equal opportunity in government procurement, a Rs.500 crore credit guarantee scheme and easier exit norms.
 
The Jefferies report pointed out "the definition of startups to qualify for the government schemes precludes start-ups with turnover of over Rs.250 million, which would limit the benefits to better performing startups. Moreover, the definition also requires that start-ups get certification from an inter-ministerial board, which could prove onerous".
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.

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