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     New Delhi, April 23, 2013: Government of India has emphasised on diversification of agriculture to include crops and varieties requiring less water.

     Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) and State Agricultural Universities have developed several early maturing varieties of crops, which perform well under moisture stress/drought conditions, official sources said.

     In rice techniques like System Rice Intensification (SRI), direct seeded rice (DSR), aerobic rice, alternate wet and drying (AWD) conditions are being standardized which require less water than normal transplanted rice, they said.

     In wheat varieties suitable for rainfed and restricted irrigations have been developed. In some areas, maize as a Rabi crop is giving excellent profitable results and this crop requires less water than rice, the officials said.

     The Central Government under the programme ″Bringing Green Revolution to Eastern India″ is promoting SRI in rice to save water and other inputs. Under the other programme ″Initiation on Nutritional Security through intensive millets promotion (INSIMP)″ millets, which require very less water, are being promoted.

     Front Line Demonstrations (FLDs) are being conducted on Rabi maize to popularize this crop in place of rice and other high water requiring crops.

     During presentation of the Central Budget 2013-14 a scheme ″Crop Diversification in Original Green Revolution States″ has been announced. This scheme would consider growing crops will less water in states like Punjab, Haryana and Western UP.

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