August 16, 2009

Paddy Cultivation in Punjab: An Alternative View

Filed under: Economics,Punjab — loggers @ 6:42 pm

Yesterday, an editorial in the Indian Express suggested that farmers in states like Punjab and Haryana have escaped the drought by switching to Basmati cultivation. It lauded the “foresight” of certain regional and national politicians who made strategic investments in irrigation and power. While it is true that these investments are now turning out to be nothing short of life-saving, the negative externalities associated with endowing every farmer with a water pumping set needs to be assessed. During our stay in Punjab, we found out that due to paddy cultivation, the water table in Punjab is falling by 20 feet every year. This is a major problem for a state whose residents rely on groundwater for drinking and whose industries are lamenting water shortage.



  1. So what is the solution, Naman?

    Comment by surya — August 17, 2009 @ 6:59 pm | Reply

  2. Paddy cultivation should be reserved for areas where water supply is abundant and ground water usage is minimal. That’s a radical solution.
    Certain breeds of rice, such as Basmati, require significantly lesser water for cultivation. Encouraging cultivation of such varieties should be prioritized.
    Other initiatives such as rain water harvesting are already being marketed. Ideally, these steps should be taken simultaneously.

    Comment by loggers — August 17, 2009 @ 11:12 pm | Reply

  3. […] Filed under: Economics, Haryana, Punjab — loggers @ 12:43 am Previously, we wrote about the negative externality (in the form of water table depletion) associated with paddy […]

    Pingback by Follow-up: Paddy Cultivation « theindialog — August 21, 2009 @ 12:43 am | Reply

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