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Tubewell Irrigation in the Gangetic Plains

B. D. Dhawan
Economic and Political Weekly
Vol. 12, No. 39 (Sep. 24, 1977), pp. A91-A93+A95-A97+A99-A104
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/4365954
Page Count: 12
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Tubewell Irrigation in the Gangetic Plains
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Abstract

The Gangetic basin accounted for two-thirds of the tubewell irrigation of the country in 1972-73. Together with the Indus basin, the share was 95 per cent of the national tubewell-irrigated area. Within these two basins, covering the vast plains of the north, the development of tubewell irrigation diminishes in force and concentration as one moves from Punjab, Haryana, and west UP in the west to east UP, Bihar and West Bengal in the eastern plains. What are the forces which have made investment in private tubewells much more profitable in the western plains than in the eastern plains? It is seen that the 'minimum economic size' of holding which makes tubewell investment worthwhile tends to rise substantially as one moves from west to east. Over time, however, this minimum economic size has declined sharply in all the regions of the plains - with 1965 being the turning point in this downward movement. It was thus in the mid-sixties that the so-called 'tubewell explosion' began in the country. The minimum economic size of a holding for a tubewell in Bihar and West Bengal is still high, mainly because of the poor progress in land consolidation, inadequate agricultural extension service, insufficient credit facilities for short-term credit required for the high assocated-cost of HYV-rrigated agriculture, etc -some of which factors are amenable to state intenvention.

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