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SIP with Solar Irrigation Schemes

Substantial Investment Subsidies (SIP):

The Government of India has introduced several solar irrigation schemes like PM KUSUM, Suryamitra Skill Development Programme, SPaRC Program, etc.

  • These schemes seek to provide Substantial Investment Subsidies (SIP) and incentivise farmers to conserve groundwater and energy, increase farmer income and enable more efficient irrigation.
  • SIPs promise a low carbon footprint, consistent energy availability, zero fuel costs and low operational costs. However, there are some issues associated with these schemes.

About Substantial Investment Subsidies:

  • The Government of India through PM KUSUM has been promoting solar irrigation pumps by offering Substantial Investment Subsidies (SIP).
  • The objective of SIP is to provide subsidies to farmers for buying and installation of solar pumps and power plants.
  • The farmer will be able to use the generated solar power to meet the irrigation needs and the excess solar power will be sold to power distribution companies (DISCOMs) at pre-fixed tariff.
  • The massive power subsidies in the Indian agriculture sector has led to development of the irrigation-energy nexus.
  • Electricity in the agriculture sector is supplied at subsidised rates.
  • This irrigation-energy nexus is characterised primarily by depleting groundwater and a growing debt burden of power DISCOMs.
  • SIP can help in breaking this irrigation-energy nexus and provide other benefits.