In his reply to the debate on President of India’s address to the joint session of Parliament, Mr Narendra Modi, Prime Minister of India told the Parliament on Feb 7, 2019[i]:
The video of the PM’s speech is also available on you tube[ii], where listen to what he says from 1:18:36 to 1:19:14. There is no ambiguity about what the PM is saying.
He is saying clearly that we have done the work of completing all these 99 projects through expenditure of thousands of crores of Rupees. He mentions the figure 99 in that 28 second interval at least four times.
Interestingly, the PM claims completion of these 99 projects was a means of empowerment of the farmers. This is highly questionable, as the farmers feel totally slave to the operators of the irrigation projects, in whose decision making, implementation or operation, farmers have no role.
However, BJP’s manifesto, published with PM’s letter dated April 8, 2019, contradicts him when it says on page 14[iii], “we have completed work on the long pending 31 irrigation projects under Pradhan Manti Krishi Sinchai Yojana and work will soon be completed on the remaining 68 projects in phases upto Dec 2019.” Thus BJP’s own manifesto contradicts what the PM said on the floor of the Parliament.
However, if we go to the MOWR’s PMSKY website[iv] and see the status, we find that even the 31 projects that are claimed to have been completed way back in June 2018, are yet to achieve full irrigation potential utilization. What this means is that even these 31 projects are not complete, the work is still ongoing to achieve full utilization of the potential.
It is quite another matter how useful these projects are to the farmers even when claimed to have been completed, they do not seem to add to the National net irrigated area, even as per govt’s own information. The CAG of course has said a lot adversely about these projects, including for the work under Modi era.
Very interestingly, the PM said in the beginning of this speech (p 506) in Parliament on Feb 7, 2019:
Let us leave it at that.
Himanshu Thakkar (email@example.com)