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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.