Avinash Kishore

Are solar pumps a drought mitigation strategy for farmers in Bihar? This research paper looks into the interplay between droughts, subsequent distress and government interventions.

Since 1999, Bihar has borne the brunt of four droughts. Rainfall scarcity has affected farmers, depleted groundwater levels significantly, and led to an increase in the number of poor people in the state. What measures has the government taken to mitigate the impact? Are the relief programmes offered to these agrarian communities sustainable? 

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Solar energy might be free but the equipment needed to tap into it is expensive. Can farmers benefit without falling into the subsidy trap?

Indian farmers depend on groundwater for irrigation but often, there is a shortage of electricity that is required to pump out this water. While diesel pumps are an option, they are costly to run. A better alternative is to tap into freely available solar power. However, this technology is quite expensive at present and effective subsidies and incentives drive its usage. Another catch to this ‘free’ power situation is the perception that if groundwater were available more freely, then farmers might end up exploiting it.

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