Understanding the Electricity, Water & Agriculture Linkages

Date and time: 23rd January, 2019 | 3 PM

The series of farmers’ loan waivers by different states has focused attention once again on farmers and the economics of farming. But much of this attention has been on price support and marketing. The economics of inputs and input subsidies have gone into the background. This includes electricity supply, one of the most important inputs to agriculture.

Growth in agriculture has been largely driven by groundwater based irrigation, powered by electricity. It is also certain that the dominance of groundwater will continue in the coming years due to its inherent advantages.

Ironically, discussions around electricity subsidy for agriculture are often centred on the impact of these subsidies on the finances of the distribution companies, and on the sustainability of groundwater. The discourse has largely ignored the crucial place of agriculture in the country - ensuring food security, providing livelihoods, and indeed as a way of life for most rural people. The strong and complex linkages between electricity, water and agriculture sectors have also been not been given due consideration. It is this very neglect of linkages and a lack of comprehensive approach that has led to the persistence of the problems in spite of several decades of attempts to address them.

This webinar, based on a recent Prayas (Energy Group) discussion paper discussed issues like:
  • Subsidy in agricultural electricity supply – its extent, its estimation, its financing
  • Distortions in estimation of electricity consumption in agriculture and ways to improve it
  • Impacts of increased tariffs and reduction in subsidy on farmers
  • Framework for an integrated and comprehensive approach
  • Suggestions for way forward, including pilot project ideas
 Speakers: Shripad Dharmadhikary, Sreekumar Nhalur, and Ashwini Dabadge, Prayas (Energy Group)
The presentation made at the webinar and its full recording can be accessed below.