"It has been decided that in five years, Rs 50,000 crore from the central budget would be utilised for the Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchai Yojana. States' share will be over and above this," Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said while communicating the Cabinet decision.

He further said, "This can also be utilised to help the material component in MNREGA (Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act)." The decision was taken at the meeting of Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi yesterday. For the current fiscal, he mentioned the allocation is Rs 5,300 crore.

The spending this year is expected to bring an additional six lakh hectares under irrigation, while five lakh hectares will benefit from drip irrigation. That apart, 1,300 watershed projects have been marked for completion.

Currently, 142 million hectares are used for cultivation, of which only 45 percent farm land is under irrigation. "The major objective of the PMKSY is to achieve convergence of investments in irrigation at the field level, expand cultivable area under assured irrigation (har khet ko pani), improve on-farm water use efficiency to reduce wastage of water, enhance adoption of precision-irrigation and other water-saving technologies (more crop per drop)," he added Jaitley.

Besides, the Finance Minister said the scheme is aimed at enhancing recharge of aquifers and introducing sustainable water conservation practices by exploring feasibility of re-using treated municipal water for peri-urban agriculture and attracting greater private investment in precision irrigation.

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