PM-Kusum not a solution for India’s irrigation needs: CSE

  1. A report by the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) titled “Silver Bullet: Are Solar Pumps a Panacea for Irrigation, Farmer Distress and Discom Losses?” has assessed the expected impact of the PM-KUSUM scheme.
  2. According to the report, PM KUSUM might result in over-exploitation of groundwater. It notes that while, the solarisation of agricultural feeders and on-grid solar pumps are economically superior to off-grid pumps, however, they do not specify measures to limit water use.
  3. Further, PM-Kusum may also not help reduce discoms’ subsidy burden because the installation of pumps is not mandatorily tied to decrease in subsidised agricultural power supply.
  4. Pradhan Mantri Kisan Urja Suraksha evam Utthaan Mahabhiyan (PM-Kusum) scheme was approved in Feb 2019. The scheme has been formulated by the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy.
  5. The scheme aims to promote the use of solar power among farmers. It seeks to install 17.5 lakh off-grid and 10 lakh on-grid solar pumps and 10 gigawatt of solar power plants capacity in rural areas by 2022.
  6. The expected benefits of the scheme are a) ensure predictable power supply to farmers, b) limit power bill of farmers, c) help farmers earn additional income by selling surplus power to DISCOMs, d) Reduce DISCOM’s subsidy burden to agriculture sector.