March 31, 2017
New Delhi, March 31, 2017: Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) signed an agreement with the Government of India to provide Official Development Assistance (ODA) Loan of 13,725 million Japanese Yen (approximately INR 800 crores) to the Water Resource Department (WRD) and allied departments under the Government of Rajasthan (GoR), for "Rajasthan Water Sector Livelihood Improvement Project (Tranche I)". The ODA loan's conditions for the Project are very concessional, i.e. 0.7% interest rate for project activities and 0.01% interest rate for consulting services, and 15 years of repayment period (including 5 years of grace period).
The agreement was signed between Mr. Takema SAKAMOTO, Chief Representative, JICA India Office and Mr. S. Selvakumar, Joint Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs, the Ministry of Finance, Government of India in New Delhi.
Speaking on the occasion, Mr. Takema SAKAMOTO, Chief Representative, JICA India Office said, "JICA recognizes that water scarcity is critical in Rajasthan and the GoR has put strong emphasis on tackling this issue. The Project shall support these initiatives through rehabilitation of irrigation systems, promotion of micro irrigation and capacity building for improved water management by the farmers. A unique feature of the Project relates to the emphasis on gender mainstreaming in agriculture and irrigation sector in Rajasthan. It is an honour for JICA to address these important issues, through the Project, in partnership with the GoR".
In Rajasthan, 62% of the population is engaged in agriculture and the agriculture sector is one of the most important industries in the state which accounts for about 30% of the State GDP. On the other hand, 100 years average annual rainfall of the state is only 583.7 mm, which is 54% of the national average. In order to cope with such limited water resources in the state, irrigation scheme has been gradually developed since a few centuries ago. However, many of these irrigation facilities became aged and increasingly degraded, which cause decrease of water flow due to leakage and/or sedimentations and difficulties of adequate water distribution. This situation makes it hard to stabilize agriculture production and improve its productivity based on sufficient water discharge and distribution. Since traditionally women were not allowed to register land under their names or inherit fathers' lands, women cannot be members of Farmer's Organization (FO) or Water Users Association (WUA) as per the Act. Under these circumstances, women's needs and voices often do not get much credit in this sector. In order to realize improvement of water use efficiency in irrigated agriculture production as well as productivity, women's participation in these organization and capacity enhancement will be the key.
The Project aims to improve water use efficiency and agriculture productivity, through improvement of existing irrigation facilities and agriculture support services based on participation of both male and female farmers, thereby contributing to improvement of farmers' livelihoods as well as promotion of gender mainstreaming in agriculture and irrigation sector in Rajasthan.
The Project shall focus on improvement of water use efficiency through rehabilitation of around 80 medium and minor irrigation schemes in the state. Moreover emphasis has been assigned under the Project on strengthening participatory water management, improving the agricultural productivity and enhancing the marketing capacity of the farmers. Capacity building and support to women to enhance their participation and decision making in agriculture and water management in Rajasthan is another important component of the Project.
JICA has previously committed 103.1 billion Japanese Yen under JICA's ODA lending support for various projects in the state of Rajasthan. These projects include Rajasthan Forestry and Biodiversity Project, Bisalpur Jaipur Water Supply Project, Rajasthan Minor Irrigation Improvement Project, and Rajasthan Rural Water Supply & Fluorosis Mitigation Project among many others.
Irrigation system to be rehabilitated
The Project will support gender mainstreaming in the agriculture and irrigation sector.
L-R – Mr. Shikhar Agrawal, Principal Secretary, Water Resources Department, SWRP, IGN, ACAD & WU, Government of Rajasthan, Mr. Takema Sakamoto, Chief Representative, JICA India Office and Mr. S. Selvakumar, Joint Secretary , Department of Economic Affairs (DEA) at the Loan Agreement Signing of Rajasthan Water Sector Livelihood Improvement Project
Established, by a specific law, as an independent administrative institution under the Government of Japan, the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) aims to contribute to the promotion of international cooperation, as a sole Japanese governmental agency in charge of ODA implementation. JICA is the world's largest bilateral donor agency. JICA works as a bridge between Japan and emerging countries, and provides assistance in forms of loan, grant and technical cooperation so that the emerging countries can strengthen their capabilities.