State floats global tenders for micro-irrigation

Maharashtra has become the first state in the country to go for global tenders in micro-irrigation projects from this year. It will include both drip and sprinkler irrigation projects from 2012-13. Sixty-six companies bid for it recently, of which 20 qualified.

Earlier, as per the central scheme, farmers used to get subsidies for the equipment for drip and sprinkler projects. Every year, Rs 1,400 crore was spent on micro-irrigation projects. Of this, 50 per cent was subsidy from the state and central governments.

However, there were no specific guidelines for implementation.

Subsidies earlier went to the companies and not the farmers, officials in the agriculture department said. As per the new policy, those who want to do business in the state should go for global tenders.

"Earlier, only manual equipment were sold. Now farmers have a variety — manual, semi-automatic and automatic equipment," officials added.

According to them, the cost of the machinery has come down by as much as 30 per cent due to competition and transparent procedure.

As per the new rules, the subsidy amount will be deposited into the bank account of the farmers.

The MRP will be fixed because of which there will be standardisation of rates and uniformity will be brought about.

The forms for purchase of equipment will be available online. The barcode will help indentify will be known whether the system has been installed in the fields.

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