Tanks are one of the important traditional sources of irrigation in India, irrigating nearly three million hectares even today. Though considered to be a low cost source with few environmental problems, the performance of tank irrigation has been poor and has deteriorated over the years. Several studies have analysed the performance of tank irrigation using field survey data, but not many studies seem to have analysed the trends and determinants of tank irrigation covering various states as well as national level data in recent times. In this study, therefore, using time series data from 1950/51 to 1999/2000, an attempt is made (a) to study the growth pattern of tank irrigation across different periods both at the national as well as across states level, (b) to study the nexus between rainfall and area under tank irrigation at a specific state, which has relatively larger area under tank irrigation, (c) to find out the losers and gainers of tank irrigation among different size of farmers, and (d) to suggest policy measures to rejuvenate tank irrigation in India.

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