• To encourage farmers to use solar agriculture pumps, the Maharashtra government has decided to give two LED bulbs, a DC fan and a mobile charging socket as freebies.
• The State has launched the Atal Solar Krishi Pump Yojana (ASKP) for farmers with a subsidy of up to 95 per cent on solar pumpsets. The State plans to install one lakh solar pumps.
• The State aims to reduce losses due to non-payment of electricity bills and also promote solar energy by implementing the scheme.
• The Government Resolution issued on January 1 states that along with solar pump, farmers will get two LED bulbs, a direct current (DC) fan and mobile charging socket.
• Farmers with less than five acres will have to pay 5 per cent of the cost of a 3 HP solar pump while farmers with more than five acres will get a 5 HP solar pump and the sops.
• State officials said the scheme would be beneficial to farmers who reside in remote areas where the agricultural feeder is not possible.
• The Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Co Ltd (Msedcl) is the implementing agency.
• The government is not able to gauge the depth of agriculture crisis and sufferings of farmers.
• By providing fans and mobile charging sockets, farmers are not going to opt for solar pumps.
• There is a need for a campaign to educate farmers about solar energy and at the same time the government has to ensure that scheme reaches to the poor farmers.
Mains Paper 3: Agriculture | Different types of irrigation and irrigation systems storage
Prelims level: ASKP Scheme
Mains level: Facilitating Irrigation through solar power