Land Resources in India


Ajit Kumar AJIT KUMARWISDOM IAS, New Delhi.

India constitutes 18 per cent of the world’s population, 15 per cent of the live stock population and only 2 per cent of the geographic area, one per cent of the forest area and 0.5 per cent of pasture lands. The per capita availability of forests in India is only 0.08 per ha. as against the world average of 0.8 per cent , thus leading to the pressure on land and forests. This poses a major and urgent concern. In accordance with the National Remote Sensing Agency’s (NRSA) findings there are 75.5 million ha. of wastelands in the country. In has been estimated that out of these around 58 million ha. are treatable and can be brought back to original productive levels through appropriate measures. At the moment, taking into account the efforts being made by all the various players in this field treating facilities are in place only for around 1 million ha. per year. At this rate, that there is no further degradation and also assuming that our efforts are 100 per cent successful, it will take around 58 years to complete the process.
Watershed degradation in the third world countries threatens the livelihood of millions of people and constraints the ability of countries to develop a healthy agricultural and natural resource base. Increasing population and livestock are rapidly depleting the existing natural resource base because the soil and vegetation system cannot support present level of use. As population continues to rise, the pressure on forests, community lands and marginal agricultural lands lead to inappropriate cultivation practices, forests removal and grazing intensities that leave a barren environment yielding unwanted sediment and damaging stream flow to down stream communities.
Watershed is a geo-hydrological unit which drains at a common point. Rains falling on the mountain start flowing down into small rivulets. Many of them, as they come down, join to form small streams. The small streams form bigger streams and then finally the bigger streams join to form a nallah to drain out of a village. The entire area that supplies water to a stream or river, i.e. the drainage basin or catchment area, is called the watershed of that particular stream or river.
Management of watershed thus entails the rational utilisation of land and water resources for optimum production but with minimum hazard to natural and human resources. The main objectives of watershed management are to protect the natural resources such as soil, water and vegetation from degradation. In the broader sense, it is an undertaking to maintain the equilibrium between elements of natural ecosystem of vegetation, land or water on the one hand and man’s activities on the other hand.
When all possible inputs are obtaining, the man in the watershed still remains the most important component of the entire watershed system. The key issue is how far the people can be motivated, involved and organised to drive the movement. No significant improvement can be expected without the people being brought to centre-stage.
A technical committee constituted in 2005 by the Department of Land Resources under the
chairmanship of Shri S. Parthasarthy analysed a wide range of statistics to show that even as irrigated agriculture appears to be hitting a plateau, the rainfed farming has suffered neglect. The report concludes that the productivity of rainfed agriculture needs to be urgently developed if food security demands of the future years are to be met. A greater focus of watershed development programmes to increase productivity of lands in rain-fed areas may hold the key to meeting the challenge of food security in years to come. Out of 328.7 million hectare of geographical area of India, 142 million hectares is net cultivated area. Of this, about 57 million hectare (40%) is irrigated and the remaining 85 million ha. (60%) is rainfed.
To accelerate the pace of development of wastelands/degraded lands and to focus attention
in this regard, the Government had set up the National Wastelands Development Board in 1985
under the Ministry of Environment & Forests. Later a separate Department of Wastelands Development in the Ministry of Rural Development and Poverty Alleviation was created in 1992 and the National Wastelands Development Board (NWDB) was transferred to it. In April 1999, Department of Wastelands Development (DoWD) was renamed as the Department of Land Resources to act as the nodal agency for land resource management.
Consequently, all land-based development programmes and the Land Reforms Division were
brought under this Department. The Department of Land Resources is implementing area development programmes on watershed basis. A Watershed is a topographically delineated area that is drained by a stream system. Watershed is made up of its physical and hydrological
natural resources as well as human resources. Management of a watershed thus entails the rational utilization of land and water resources for optimum production but with minimum hazard to natural and human resources. Therefore, watershed management is the process of guiding and organizing land use and use of other resources in a watershed to provide desired goods and services without adversely affecting soil and water resources. Embedded in this concept is the recognition of the interrelationships among land use, soil and water and the linkages between uplands and downstream areas.
The Department of Land Resources has been implementing three Area Development Programmes viz. Drought Prone Areas Programme (DPAP), Desert Development Programme (DDP) and Integrated Wastelands Development Programme (IWDP) on watershed basis since 1995-96, based on the recommendations of a Technical Committee under the chairmanship of Professor C.H. Hanumantha Rao, appointed in 1994 to appraise the impact of DPAP / DDP and suggest measures for improvement. Accordingly, the Guidelines were framed and made
effective from 1st April 1995.
The projects under DDP, DPAP and IWDP were being sanctioned by the Department on watershed basis from 1995-96 to 2006-07. To give emphasis on completion of ongoing projects under these programmes, no new projects were sanctioned w.e.f. 2007-08. However, central assistance is being released for completion of on-going projects.
Under the aegies of the Planning Commission, National Rainfed Area Authority (NRAA), in
consultation with the concerned Ministries, framed Common Guidelines, 2008 for watershed
programmes for all Ministries/Departments based on the Parthasarathy Committee Report, other
Committees observations and past experiences. The provisions in the Common Guidelines and the observations of the Parthasarthy Committee necessitated modifications in the watershed schemes of the Department of Land Resources. Accordingly, DPAP, DDP and IWDP of the Department of Land Resources have been integrated and consolidated into a single modified programme called Integrated Watershed Management Programme (IWMP) and launched in 2009-10. This programme is being implemented as per the Common Guidelines for Watershed Development Projects, 2008 (Revised in 2011). IWMP is extended to all States/UTs of the country.
The details of watershed programmes being implemented by this Department are as below:
Drought Prone Areas Programme (DPAP)
Drought Prone Areas Programme (DPAP) is the area development programe launched by the Central Government in 1973-74 to tackle the special problems faced by those fragile areas, which are constantly affected by severe drought conditions. These areas are characterized by large human and cattle population which are continuously putting heavy pressure on the already degraded natural resources for food, fodder and fuel. The major problems are continuous depletion of vegetative cover, increase in soil erosion and fall in ground water levels due to continuous exploitation without any effort to recharge the underground aquifers.
Objectives The objective of the programme is to minimize the adverse impacts of drought on the production of crops, productivity of land, availability of water, livestock and human resources thereby ultimately leading to the drought proofing of the affected areas.
The programme aims at promoting overall economic development and improving the socioeconomic condition of the resource poor and disadvantaged sections inhabiting the programme areas through creation, widening and equitable distribution of the resource base and increased employment opportunities. The objectives of the programme are being addressed in general by taking up development works through watershed approach for land development, water resource development and afforestation/pasture development.
Coverage At present the Drought Prone Areas Programme  (DPAP) is under implementation in 972 blocks of 195 districts in 16 States. The States where DPAP is under implementation along with the number of Districts, Blocks and area are indicated in the following table:
Desert Development Programme (DDP)
The Desert Development Programme (DDP) was started both in hot desert areas of Rajasthan,
Gujarat and Haryana and the cold deserts of Jammu & Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh in 1977-78. From 1995-96, the coverage has been extended to another six districts of Karnataka and one district in Andhra Pradesh. In hot sandy desert areas, sand dune stabilization and shelterbelt plantations were given greater weightage. On the other hand, in cold desert areas, since rainfall is negligible, crop cultivation and afforestation were taken up only through assured irrigation. In these areas, the main activity was development of water resources through construction of channels for diversion of water flow from glaciers and springs to the fields and lift irrigation works in the valleys.
In view of the problem of shifting sands in Rajasthan, special projects for sand dune stabilization
in ten districts were taken up under DDP since 1999- 2000 by way of shelter belt plantation, sand dune fixation and silvi-pasture development. These ten districts are Barmer, Bikaner, Churu, Jaisalmer, Jalore, Jhunjhunu, Jodhpur, Nagaur, Pali and Sikar.
Objectives The programme has been conceived as a longterm measure for restoration of ecological balance by conserving, developing and harnessing land, water, livestock and human resources. It seeks to promote the economic development of the village community and improve the economic conditions of the resource poor and disadvantaged sections of society in the rural areas. The major objectives of the programme are as under:-
-To mitigate the adverse effects of desertification and adverse climatic conditions on crops,
human and livestock population and combating desertification.
-To restore ecological balance by harnessing conserving and developing natural resources i.e. land, water, vegetative cover and raising land productivity.
-To implement development works through the watershed approach, for land development, water resources development and afforestation/ pasture development.
Coverage
The Desert Development Programme (DDP) is under implementation in 235 blocks of 40 districts in 7 States. The States where DDP is under implementation along with the number of blocks and area are indicated in the table below:
Funding Pattern
The DDP is a centrally sponsored programme and funds are released directly to the District Rural Development Agencies / Zila Parishads for implementation of the programme.
Integrated Wastelands Development Programme (IWDP)
This programme has been under implementation since 1989-90, and was transferred to DoLR (erstwhile DoWD) along with the NWDB in July 1992. From 1 April 1995, the scheme is being
implemented on a watershed basis in accordance with the Guidelines for Watershed Development. It is expected to promote the generation of employment in the rural areas besides enhancing the participation of people at all stages - leading to sustainable development of wasteland and equitable sharing of the benefits.
Objectives of IWDP
-Developing wastelands/degraded lands on watershed basis, keeping in view the capability
of land, site conditions and local needs.
- Promoting overall economic development and improving socio-economic condition of the
poor and disadvantaged sections inhabiting the programme areas.
-Restoring ecological balance by harnessing, conserving and developing natural resources
i.e. land, water & vegetative cover.
- Encouraging village community for sustainable community action for the operation and
maintenance of assets created and further development of potential of the natural resources in the watershed.
- Employment generation, poverty alleviation, community empowerment and development
of human and other economic resources of the village.
Coverage
The projects under the programme are sanctioned in the Blocks not covered by DDP and
DPAP. So far, the projects under the Programme have been implemented in 470 districts of the
country.
Integrated Watershed Management Programme (IWMP)
The main features of the programme are as below:
(i) The activities to be taken up under IWMP are distributed over three phases. The Preparatory
Phase (1 to 2 years) involves preparation of DPR, Entry Point Activities and Institution & Capacity Building. The Watershed Works Phase (2 to 3 years) involves the Watershed
Development Works, Livelihood Activities for the assetless persons and Production System &
Micro Enterprises. The Consolidation and Withdrawal Phase (1 to 2 years) involves
consolidation and completion of various works.
(ii) The cost norm for IWMP is $ 15000/- per ha for hilly & difficult area, $ 12000/- per ha for
other areas and upto $ 15000 per ha for IWMP projects in Integrated Action Plan (IAP) Districts. The funding pattern under the scheme is in the ratio of 90:10 between the Centre and States. The projects under IWMP undertake a cluster of micro-watersheds of area about 5000 ha in rainfed/degraded areas having no assured irrigation. Dedicated institutions are also provided at Centre, State and District levels.
The programme lays emphasis on meticulous planning and capacity building, by providing a
special provision of 1% for preparation of Detailed Project Report (DPR) and 5% for
Institution and Capacity Building.
(iii) Institutional set up for implementation of IWMP (a) Ministry Level: A Steering Committee
has been constituted at National Level in the Department of Land Resources under the Chairmanship of Secretary (Land Resources) with members from Planning Commission, NRAA, related Ministries/ Departments/Institutes, organizations including Non-Government Organizations (NGOs) to administer the IWMP.
(b) State Level: State Level Nodal Agency (SLNA) constituted with professional support, is the dedicated institution for implementation of IWMP in the State.
(c) District Level: Watershed Cell-cum-Data Centre (WCDC) is the District level institution to supervise and coordinate IWMP projects in the District. WCDC is set up in DRDA/Zilla Parishad/District Level Implementing Agency/Department in all programme districts as per the
convenience of the State Governments.
(d) Project Level: Projects under IWMP are supervised by Project Implementing Agencies (PIAs). Government and NGOs may act as PIAs, as per the provisions in the Common Guidelines for Watershed Development Projects, 2008 (Revised in 2011), for providing technical back up for Water Harvesting Structure Training of a Self Help Group, Raipur Chhattisgarh
IWMP projects. Each PIA has Watershed Development Team (WDT) comprising
atleast 4 members.
(e) Village Level: Watershed Committee (WC) is constituted by the Gram Sabha for implementation of the project at field level. It comprises of at least 10 members. Half of which are representatives of SHGs and User Groups (UGs), SC/ST community, women and landless. One member from WDT is also represented in WC.
(iv) Criteria for allocation of target area to States under IWMP Keeping in view the mandate of the. Department of Land Resources and its watershed schemes, the following criteria are
adopted for the allocation of target area among the States.
(i) Identified DPAP/DDP areas in the State as percentage of total DPAP and DDP area in the country.
(ii) Total treatable wastelands in the State as percentage of total treatable wastelands  in the country.
(iii) Total SC/ST population of the State as percentage of total SC/ST population of the country.
(iv) Percentage of rainfed area in the State to total cultivated area in the country.
(v) 10% mandatory allocation to North- Eastern States.
Role of Ministry of Rural Development
The Ministry of Rural Development, Government of India, has recently created a Department of Land Resources to act as a nodal department in the field of watershed management and development. This has the mandate of developing the valuable land resources of India, which are presently under various stages of degradation and it also endeavors to prevent further degradation of these resources through appropriate management and necessary measures.
The Department of Land Resources, being the nodal department has taken up certain new initiatives to play a more pro-active role in the Land Resource management in the country. At the conceptual level it has been realised that the management rather than the mere use of land is the central theme. There is no dearth of land, the real issue is management which should include: dynamic conservation, sustainable development and equitable access to the benefits of intervention.
The concept of sustainable development focuses on help for the very poor because they are left with no option but to destroy their own environment. It also includes the idea of cost-effective development using differing economic criteria to the traditional approach; that is to say development should not degrade environment quality, or reduce productivity in the long run. The greater issues of health control, appropriate technologies, food self-reliance, clean water and shelter for all are to be addressed. Sustainable development should seek to maintain an acceptable rate of growth in per capita real incomes without depleting the national capital asset stock or the natural environmental asset stock.
Equitable access to the benefits of development could be achieved either through land reforms or a dedicated and institutionalised mode of people’s participation. Here, besides the Government, other players like the corporate sector, NGOs, various institutions and self-help groups can be involved.India constitutes 18 per cent of the world’s population, 15 per cent of the live stock population and only 2 per cent of the geographic area, one per cent of the forest area and 0.5 per cent of pasture lands. The per capita availability of forests in India is only 0.08 per ha. as against the world average of 0.8 per cent , thus leading to the pressure on land and forests. This poses a major and urgent concern. In accordance with the National Remote Sensing Agency’s (NRSA) findings there are 75.5 million ha. of wastelands in the country. In has been estimated that out of these around 58 million ha. are treatable and can be brought back to original productive levels through appropriate measures. At the moment, taking into account the efforts being made by all the various players in this field treating facilities are in place only for around 1 million ha. per year. At this rate, that there is no further degradation and also assuming that our efforts are 100 per cent successful, it will take around 58 years to complete the process.
Watershed degradation in the third world countries threatens the livelihood of millions of people and constraints the ability of countries to develop a healthy agricultural and natural resource base. Increasing population and livestock are rapidly depleting the existing natural resource base because the soil and vegetation system cannot support present level of use. As population continues to rise, the pressure on forests, community lands and marginal agricultural lands lead to inappropriate cultivation practices, forests removal and grazing intensities that leave a barren environment yielding unwanted sediment and damaging stream flow to down stream communities.
Watershed is a geo-hydrological unit which drains at a common point. Rains falling on the mountain start flowing down into small rivulets. Many of them, as they come down, join to form small streams. The small streams form bigger streams and then finally the bigger streams join to form a nallah to drain out of a village. The entire area that supplies water to a stream or river, i.e. the drainage basin or catchment area, is called the watershed of that particular stream or river.
Management of watershed thus entails the rational utilisation of land and water resources for optimum production but with minimum hazard to natural and human resources. The main objectives of watershed management are to protect the natural resources such as soil, water and vegetation from degradation. In the broader sense, it is an undertaking to maintain the equilibrium between elements of natural ecosystem of vegetation, land or water on the one hand and man’s activities on the other hand.
When all possible inputs are obtaining, the man in the watershed still remains the most important component of the entire watershed system. The key issue is how far the people can be motivated, involved and organised to drive the movement. No significant improvement can be expected without the people being brought to centre-stage.
A technical committee constituted in 2005 by the Department of Land Resources under the
chairmanship of Shri S. Parthasarthy analysed a wide range of statistics to show that even as irrigated agriculture appears to be hitting a plateau, the rainfed farming has suffered neglect. The report concludes that the productivity of rainfed agriculture needs to be urgently developed if food security demands of the future years are to be met. A greater focus of watershed development programmes to increase productivity of lands in rain-fed areas may hold the key to meeting the challenge of food security in years to come. Out of 328.7 million hectare of geographical area of India, 142 million hectares is net cultivated area. Of this, about 57 million hectare (40%) is irrigated and the remaining 85 million ha. (60%) is rainfed.
To accelerate the pace of development of wastelands/degraded lands and to focus attention
in this regard, the Government had set up the National Wastelands Development Board in 1985
under the Ministry of Environment & Forests. Later a separate Department of Wastelands Development in the Ministry of Rural Development and Poverty Alleviation was created in 1992 and the National Wastelands Development Board (NWDB) was transferred to it. In April 1999, Department of Wastelands Development (DoWD) was renamed as the Department of Land Resources to act as the nodal agency for land resource management.
Consequently, all land-based development programmes and the Land Reforms Division were
brought under this Department. The Department of Land Resources is implementing area development programmes on watershed basis. A Watershed is a topographically delineated area that is drained by a stream system. Watershed is made up of its physical and hydrological
natural resources as well as human resources. Management of a watershed thus entails the rational utilization of land and water resources for optimum production but with minimum hazard to natural and human resources. Therefore, watershed management is the process of guiding and organizing land use and use of other resources in a watershed to provide desired goods and services without adversely affecting soil and water resources. Embedded in this concept is the recognition of the interrelationships among land use, soil and water and the linkages between uplands and downstream areas.
The Department of Land Resources has been implementing three Area Development Programmes viz. Drought Prone Areas Programme (DPAP), Desert Development Programme (DDP) and Integrated Wastelands Development Programme (IWDP) on watershed basis since 1995-96, based on the recommendations of a Technical Committee under the chairmanship of Professor C.H. Hanumantha Rao, appointed in 1994 to appraise the impact of DPAP / DDP and suggest measures for improvement. Accordingly, the Guidelines were framed and made
effective from 1st April 1995.
The projects under DDP, DPAP and IWDP were being sanctioned by the Department on watershed basis from 1995-96 to 2006-07. To give emphasis on completion of ongoing projects under these programmes, no new projects were sanctioned w.e.f. 2007-08. However, central assistance is being released for completion of on-going projects.
Under the aegies of the Planning Commission, National Rainfed Area Authority (NRAA), in
consultation with the concerned Ministries, framed Common Guidelines, 2008 for watershed
programmes for all Ministries/Departments based on the Parthasarathy Committee Report, other
Committees observations and past experiences. The provisions in the Common Guidelines and the observations of the Parthasarthy Committee necessitated modifications in the watershed schemes of the Department of Land Resources. Accordingly, DPAP, DDP and IWDP of the Department of Land Resources have been integrated and consolidated into a single modified programme called Integrated Watershed Management Programme (IWMP) and launched in 2009-10. This programme is being implemented as per the Common Guidelines for Watershed Development Projects, 2008 (Revised in 2011). IWMP is extended to all States/UTs of the country.
The details of watershed programmes being implemented by this Department are as below:
Drought Prone Areas Programme (DPAP)
Drought Prone Areas Programme (DPAP) is the area development programe launched by the Central Government in 1973-74 to tackle the special problems faced by those fragile areas, which are constantly affected by severe drought conditions. These areas are characterized by large human and cattle population which are continuously putting heavy pressure on the already degraded natural resources for food, fodder and fuel. The major problems are continuous depletion of vegetative cover, increase in soil erosion and fall in ground water levels due to continuous exploitation without any effort to recharge the underground aquifers.
Objectives The objective of the programme is to minimize the adverse impacts of drought on the production of crops, productivity of land, availability of water, livestock and human resources thereby ultimately leading to the drought proofing of the affected areas.
The programme aims at promoting overall economic development and improving the socioeconomic condition of the resource poor and disadvantaged sections inhabiting the programme areas through creation, widening and equitable distribution of the resource base and increased employment opportunities. The objectives of the programme are being addressed in general by taking up development works through watershed approach for land development, water resource development and afforestation/pasture development.
Coverage At present the Drought Prone Areas Programme  (DPAP) is under implementation in 972 blocks of 195 districts in 16 States. The States where DPAP is under implementation along with the number of Districts, Blocks and area are indicated in the following table:
Desert Development Programme (DDP)
The Desert Development Programme (DDP) was started both in hot desert areas of Rajasthan,
Gujarat and Haryana and the cold deserts of Jammu & Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh in 1977-78. From 1995-96, the coverage has been extended to another six districts of Karnataka and one district in Andhra Pradesh. In hot sandy desert areas, sand dune stabilization and shelterbelt plantations were given greater weightage. On the other hand, in cold desert areas, since rainfall is negligible, crop cultivation and afforestation were taken up only through assured irrigation. In these areas, the main activity was development of water resources through construction of channels for diversion of water flow from glaciers and springs to the fields and lift irrigation works in the valleys.
In view of the problem of shifting sands in Rajasthan, special projects for sand dune stabilization
in ten districts were taken up under DDP since 1999- 2000 by way of shelter belt plantation, sand dune fixation and silvi-pasture development. These ten districts are Barmer, Bikaner, Churu, Jaisalmer, Jalore, Jhunjhunu, Jodhpur, Nagaur, Pali and Sikar.
Objectives The programme has been conceived as a longterm measure for restoration of ecological balance by conserving, developing and harnessing land, water, livestock and human resources. It seeks to promote the economic development of the village community and improve the economic conditions of the resource poor and disadvantaged sections of society in the rural areas. The major objectives of the programme are as under:-
-To mitigate the adverse effects of desertification and adverse climatic conditions on crops,
human and livestock population and combating desertification.
-To restore ecological balance by harnessing conserving and developing natural resources i.e. land, water, vegetative cover and raising land productivity.
-To implement development works through the watershed approach, for land development, water resources development and afforestation/ pasture development.
Coverage
The Desert Development Programme (DDP) is under implementation in 235 blocks of 40 districts in 7 States. The States where DDP is under implementation along with the number of blocks and area are indicated in the table below:
Funding Pattern
The DDP is a centrally sponsored programme and funds are released directly to the District Rural Development Agencies / Zila Parishads for implementation of the programme.
Integrated Wastelands Development Programme (IWDP)
This programme has been under implementation since 1989-90, and was transferred to DoLR (erstwhile DoWD) along with the NWDB in July 1992. From 1 April 1995, the scheme is being
implemented on a watershed basis in accordance with the Guidelines for Watershed Development. It is expected to promote the generation of employment in the rural areas besides enhancing the participation of people at all stages - leading to sustainable development of wasteland and equitable sharing of the benefits.
Objectives of IWDP
-Developing wastelands/degraded lands on watershed basis, keeping in view the capability
of land, site conditions and local needs.
- Promoting overall economic development and improving socio-economic condition of the
poor and disadvantaged sections inhabiting the programme areas.
-Restoring ecological balance by harnessing, conserving and developing natural resources
i.e. land, water & vegetative cover.
- Encouraging village community for sustainable community action for the operation and
maintenance of assets created and further development of potential of the natural resources in the watershed.
- Employment generation, poverty alleviation, community empowerment and development
of human and other economic resources of the village.
Coverage
The projects under the programme are sanctioned in the Blocks not covered by DDP and
DPAP. So far, the projects under the Programme have been implemented in 470 districts of the
country.
Integrated Watershed Management Programme (IWMP)
The main features of the programme are as below:
(i) The activities to be taken up under IWMP are distributed over three phases. The Preparatory
Phase (1 to 2 years) involves preparation of DPR, Entry Point Activities and Institution & Capacity Building. The Watershed Works Phase (2 to 3 years) involves the Watershed
Development Works, Livelihood Activities for the assetless persons and Production System &
Micro Enterprises. The Consolidation and Withdrawal Phase (1 to 2 years) involves
consolidation and completion of various works.
(ii) The cost norm for IWMP is $ 15000/- per ha for hilly & difficult area, $ 12000/- per ha for
other areas and upto $ 15000 per ha for IWMP projects in Integrated Action Plan (IAP) Districts. The funding pattern under the scheme is in the ratio of 90:10 between the Centre and States. The projects under IWMP undertake a cluster of micro-watersheds of area about 5000 ha in rainfed/degraded areas having no assured irrigation. Dedicated institutions are also provided at Centre, State and District levels.
The programme lays emphasis on meticulous planning and capacity building, by providing a
special provision of 1% for preparation of Detailed Project Report (DPR) and 5% for
Institution and Capacity Building.
(iii) Institutional set up for implementation of IWMP (a) Ministry Level: A Steering Committee
has been constituted at National Level in the Department of Land Resources under the Chairmanship of Secretary (Land Resources) with members from Planning Commission, NRAA, related Ministries/ Departments/Institutes, organizations including Non-Government Organizations (NGOs) to administer the IWMP.
(b) State Level: State Level Nodal Agency (SLNA) constituted with professional support, is the dedicated institution for implementation of IWMP in the State.
(c) District Level: Watershed Cell-cum-Data Centre (WCDC) is the District level institution to supervise and coordinate IWMP projects in the District. WCDC is set up in DRDA/Zilla Parishad/District Level Implementing Agency/Department in all programme districts as per the
convenience of the State Governments.
(d) Project Level: Projects under IWMP are supervised by Project Implementing Agencies (PIAs). Government and NGOs may act as PIAs, as per the provisions in the Common Guidelines for Watershed Development Projects, 2008 (Revised in 2011), for providing technical back up for Water Harvesting Structure Training of a Self Help Group, Raipur Chhattisgarh
IWMP projects. Each PIA has Watershed Development Team (WDT) comprising
atleast 4 members.
(e) Village Level: Watershed Committee (WC) is constituted by the Gram Sabha for implementation of the project at field level. It comprises of at least 10 members. Half of which are representatives of SHGs and User Groups (UGs), SC/ST community, women and landless. One member from WDT is also represented in WC.
(iv) Criteria for allocation of target area to States under IWMP Keeping in view the mandate of the. Department of Land Resources and its watershed schemes, the following criteria are
adopted for the allocation of target area among the States.
(i) Identified DPAP/DDP areas in the State as percentage of total DPAP and DDP area in the country.
(ii) Total treatable wastelands in the State as percentage of total treatable wastelands  in the country.
(iii) Total SC/ST population of the State as percentage of total SC/ST population of the country.
(iv) Percentage of rainfed area in the State to total cultivated area in the country.
(v) 10% mandatory allocation to North- Eastern States.
Role of Ministry of Rural Development
The Ministry of Rural Development, Government of India, has recently created a Department of Land Resources to act as a nodal department in the field of watershed management and development. This has the mandate of developing the valuable land resources of India, which are presently under various stages of degradation and it also endeavors to prevent further degradation of these resources through appropriate management and necessary measures.
The Department of Land Resources, being the nodal department has taken up certain new initiatives to play a more pro-active role in the Land Resource management in the country. At the conceptual level it has been realised that the management rather than the mere use of land is the central theme. There is no dearth of land, the real issue is management which should include: dynamic conservation, sustainable development and equitable access to the benefits of intervention.
The concept of sustainable development focuses on help for the very poor because they are left with no option but to destroy their own environment. It also includes the idea of cost-effective development using differing economic criteria to the traditional approach; that is to say development should not degrade environment quality, or reduce productivity in the long run. The greater issues of health control, appropriate technologies, food self-reliance, clean water and shelter for all are to be addressed. Sustainable development should seek to maintain an acceptable rate of growth in per capita real incomes without depleting the national capital asset stock or the natural environmental asset stock.
Equitable access to the benefits of development could be achieved either through land reforms or a dedicated and institutionalised mode of people’s participation. Here, besides the Government, other players like the corporate sector, NGOs, various institutions and self-help groups can be involved.India constitutes 18 per cent of the world’s population, 15 per cent of the live stock population and only 2 per cent of the geographic area, one per cent of the forest area and 0.5 per cent of pasture lands. The per capita availability of forests in India is only 0.08 per ha. as against the world average of 0.8 per cent , thus leading to the pressure on land and forests. This poses a major and urgent concern. In accordance with the National Remote Sensing Agency’s (NRSA) findings there are 75.5 million ha. of wastelands in the country. In has been estimated that out of these around 58 million ha. are treatable and can be brought back to original productive levels through appropriate measures. At the moment, taking into account the efforts being made by all the various players in this field treating facilities are in place only for around 1 million ha. per year. At this rate, that there is no further degradation and also assuming that our efforts are 100 per cent successful, it will take around 58 years to complete the process.
Watershed degradation in the third world countries threatens the livelihood of millions of people and constraints the ability of countries to develop a healthy agricultural and natural resource base. Increasing population and livestock are rapidly depleting the existing natural resource base because the soil and vegetation system cannot support present level of use. As population continues to rise, the pressure on forests, community lands and marginal agricultural lands lead to inappropriate cultivation practices, forests removal and grazing intensities that leave a barren environment yielding unwanted sediment and damaging stream flow to down stream communities.
Watershed is a geo-hydrological unit which drains at a common point. Rains falling on the mountain start flowing down into small rivulets. Many of them, as they come down, join to form small streams. The small streams form bigger streams and then finally the bigger streams join to form a nallah to drain out of a village. The entire area that supplies water to a stream or river, i.e. the drainage basin or catchment area, is called the watershed of that particular stream or river.
Management of watershed thus entails the rational utilisation of land and water resources for optimum production but with minimum hazard to natural and human resources. The main objectives of watershed management are to protect the natural resources such as soil, water and vegetation from degradation. In the broader sense, it is an undertaking to maintain the equilibrium between elements of natural ecosystem of vegetation, land or water on the one hand and man’s activities on the other hand.
When all possible inputs are obtaining, the man in the watershed still remains the most important component of the entire watershed system. The key issue is how far the people can be motivated, involved and organised to drive the movement. No significant improvement can be expected without the people being brought to centre-stage.
A technical committee constituted in 2005 by the Department of Land Resources under the
chairmanship of Shri S. Parthasarthy analysed a wide range of statistics to show that even as irrigated agriculture appears to be hitting a plateau, the rainfed farming has suffered neglect. The report concludes that the productivity of rainfed agriculture needs to be urgently developed if food security demands of the future years are to be met. A greater focus of watershed development programmes to increase productivity of lands in rain-fed areas may hold the key to meeting the challenge of food security in years to come. Out of 328.7 million hectare of geographical area of India, 142 million hectares is net cultivated area. Of this, about 57 million hectare (40%) is irrigated and the remaining 85 million ha. (60%) is rainfed.
To accelerate the pace of development of wastelands/degraded lands and to focus attention
in this regard, the Government had set up the National Wastelands Development Board in 1985
under the Ministry of Environment & Forests. Later a separate Department of Wastelands Development in the Ministry of Rural Development and Poverty Alleviation was created in 1992 and the National Wastelands Development Board (NWDB) was transferred to it. In April 1999, Department of Wastelands Development (DoWD) was renamed as the Department of Land Resources to act as the nodal agency for land resource management.
Consequently, all land-based development programmes and the Land Reforms Division were
brought under this Department. The Department of Land Resources is implementing area development programmes on watershed basis. A Watershed is a topographically delineated area that is drained by a stream system. Watershed is made up of its physical and hydrological
natural resources as well as human resources. Management of a watershed thus entails the rational utilization of land and water resources for optimum production but with minimum hazard to natural and human resources. Therefore, watershed management is the process of guiding and organizing land use and use of other resources in a watershed to provide desired goods and services without adversely affecting soil and water resources. Embedded in this concept is the recognition of the interrelationships among land use, soil and water and the linkages between uplands and downstream areas.
The Department of Land Resources has been implementing three Area Development Programmes viz. Drought Prone Areas Programme (DPAP), Desert Development Programme (DDP) and Integrated Wastelands Development Programme (IWDP) on watershed basis since 1995-96, based on the recommendations of a Technical Committee under the chairmanship of Professor C.H. Hanumantha Rao, appointed in 1994 to appraise the impact of DPAP / DDP and suggest measures for improvement. Accordingly, the Guidelines were framed and made
effective from 1st April 1995.
The projects under DDP, DPAP and IWDP were being sanctioned by the Department on watershed basis from 1995-96 to 2006-07. To give emphasis on completion of ongoing projects under these programmes, no new projects were sanctioned w.e.f. 2007-08. However, central assistance is being released for completion of on-going projects.
Under the aegies of the Planning Commission, National Rainfed Area Authority (NRAA), in
consultation with the concerned Ministries, framed Common Guidelines, 2008 for watershed
programmes for all Ministries/Departments based on the Parthasarathy Committee Report, other
Committees observations and past experiences. The provisions in the Common Guidelines and the observations of the Parthasarthy Committee necessitated modifications in the watershed schemes of the Department of Land Resources. Accordingly, DPAP, DDP and IWDP of the Department of Land Resources have been integrated and consolidated into a single modified programme called Integrated Watershed Management Programme (IWMP) and launched in 2009-10. This programme is being implemented as per the Common Guidelines for Watershed Development Projects, 2008 (Revised in 2011). IWMP is extended to all States/UTs of the country.
The details of watershed programmes being implemented by this Department are as below:
Drought Prone Areas Programme (DPAP)
Drought Prone Areas Programme (DPAP) is the area development programe launched by the Central Government in 1973-74 to tackle the special problems faced by those fragile areas, which are constantly affected by severe drought conditions. These areas are characterized by large human and cattle population which are continuously putting heavy pressure on the already degraded natural resources for food, fodder and fuel. The major problems are continuous depletion of vegetative cover, increase in soil erosion and fall in ground water levels due to continuous exploitation without any effort to recharge the underground aquifers.
Objectives The objective of the programme is to minimize the adverse impacts of drought on the production of crops, productivity of land, availability of water, livestock and human resources thereby ultimately leading to the drought proofing of the affected areas.
The programme aims at promoting overall economic development and improving the socioeconomic condition of the resource poor and disadvantaged sections inhabiting the programme areas through creation, widening and equitable distribution of the resource base and increased employment opportunities. The objectives of the programme are being addressed in general by taking up development works through watershed approach for land development, water resource development and afforestation/pasture development.
Coverage At present the Drought Prone Areas Programme  (DPAP) is under implementation in 972 blocks of 195 districts in 16 States. The States where DPAP is under implementation along with the number of Districts, Blocks and area are indicated in the following table:
Desert Development Programme (DDP)
The Desert Development Programme (DDP) was started both in hot desert areas of Rajasthan,
Gujarat and Haryana and the cold deserts of Jammu & Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh in 1977-78. From 1995-96, the coverage has been extended to another six districts of Karnataka and one district in Andhra Pradesh. In hot sandy desert areas, sand dune stabilization and shelterbelt plantations were given greater weightage. On the other hand, in cold desert areas, since rainfall is negligible, crop cultivation and afforestation were taken up only through assured irrigation. In these areas, the main activity was development of water resources through construction of channels for diversion of water flow from glaciers and springs to the fields and lift irrigation works in the valleys.
In view of the problem of shifting sands in Rajasthan, special projects for sand dune stabilization
in ten districts were taken up under DDP since 1999- 2000 by way of shelter belt plantation, sand dune fixation and silvi-pasture development. These ten districts are Barmer, Bikaner, Churu, Jaisalmer, Jalore, Jhunjhunu, Jodhpur, Nagaur, Pali and Sikar.
Objectives The programme has been conceived as a longterm measure for restoration of ecological balance by conserving, developing and harnessing land, water, livestock and human resources. It seeks to promote the economic development of the village community and improve the economic conditions of the resource poor and disadvantaged sections of society in the rural areas. The major objectives of the programme are as under:-
-To mitigate the adverse effects of desertification and adverse climatic conditions on crops,
human and livestock population and combating desertification.
-To restore ecological balance by harnessing conserving and developing natural resources i.e. land, water, vegetative cover and raising land productivity.
-To implement development works through the watershed approach, for land development, water resources development and afforestation/ pasture development.
Coverage
The Desert Development Programme (DDP) is under implementation in 235 blocks of 40 districts in 7 States. The States where DDP is under implementation along with the number of blocks and area are indicated in the table below:
Funding Pattern
The DDP is a centrally sponsored programme and funds are released directly to the District Rural Development Agencies / Zila Parishads for implementation of the programme.
Integrated Wastelands Development Programme (IWDP)
This programme has been under implementation since 1989-90, and was transferred to DoLR (erstwhile DoWD) along with the NWDB in July 1992. From 1 April 1995, the scheme is being
implemented on a watershed basis in accordance with the Guidelines for Watershed Development. It is expected to promote the generation of employment in the rural areas besides enhancing the participation of people at all stages - leading to sustainable development of wasteland and equitable sharing of the benefits.
Objectives of IWDP
-Developing wastelands/degraded lands on watershed basis, keeping in view the capability
of land, site conditions and local needs.
- Promoting overall economic development and improving socio-economic condition of the
poor and disadvantaged sections inhabiting the programme areas.
-Restoring ecological balance by harnessing, conserving and developing natural resources
i.e. land, water & vegetative cover.
- Encouraging village community for sustainable community action for the operation and
maintenance of assets created and further development of potential of the natural resources in the watershed.
- Employment generation, poverty alleviation, community empowerment and development
of human and other economic resources of the village.
Coverage
The projects under the programme are sanctioned in the Blocks not covered by DDP and
DPAP. So far, the projects under the Programme have been implemented in 470 districts of the
country.
Integrated Watershed Management Programme (IWMP)
The main features of the programme are as below:
(i) The activities to be taken up under IWMP are distributed over three phases. The Preparatory
Phase (1 to 2 years) involves preparation of DPR, Entry Point Activities and Institution & Capacity Building. The Watershed Works Phase (2 to 3 years) involves the Watershed
Development Works, Livelihood Activities for the assetless persons and Production System &
Micro Enterprises. The Consolidation and Withdrawal Phase (1 to 2 years) involves
consolidation and completion of various works.
(ii) The cost norm for IWMP is $ 15000/- per ha for hilly & difficult area, $ 12000/- per ha for
other areas and upto $ 15000 per ha for IWMP projects in Integrated Action Plan (IAP) Districts. The funding pattern under the scheme is in the ratio of 90:10 between the Centre and States. The projects under IWMP undertake a cluster of micro-watersheds of area about 5000 ha in rainfed/degraded areas having no assured irrigation. Dedicated institutions are also provided at Centre, State and District levels.
The programme lays emphasis on meticulous planning and capacity building, by providing a
special provision of 1% for preparation of Detailed Project Report (DPR) and 5% for
Institution and Capacity Building.
(iii) Institutional set up for implementation of IWMP (a) Ministry Level: A Steering Committee
has been constituted at National Level in the Department of Land Resources under the Chairmanship of Secretary (Land Resources) with members from Planning Commission, NRAA, related Ministries/ Departments/Institutes, organizations including Non-Government Organizations (NGOs) to administer the IWMP.
(b) State Level: State Level Nodal Agency (SLNA) constituted with professional support, is the dedicated institution for implementation of IWMP in the State.
(c) District Level: Watershed Cell-cum-Data Centre (WCDC) is the District level institution to supervise and coordinate IWMP projects in the District. WCDC is set up in DRDA/Zilla Parishad/District Level Implementing Agency/Department in all programme districts as per the
convenience of the State Governments.
(d) Project Level: Projects under IWMP are supervised by Project Implementing Agencies (PIAs). Government and NGOs may act as PIAs, as per the provisions in the Common Guidelines for Watershed Development Projects, 2008 (Revised in 2011), for providing technical back up for Water Harvesting Structure Training of a Self Help Group, Raipur Chhattisgarh
IWMP projects. Each PIA has Watershed Development Team (WDT) comprising
atleast 4 members.
(e) Village Level: Watershed Committee (WC) is constituted by the Gram Sabha for implementation of the project at field level. It comprises of at least 10 members. Half of which are representatives of SHGs and User Groups (UGs), SC/ST community, women and landless. One member from WDT is also represented in WC.
(iv) Criteria for allocation of target area to States under IWMP Keeping in view the mandate of the. Department of Land Resources and its watershed schemes, the following criteria are
adopted for the allocation of target area among the States.
(i) Identified DPAP/DDP areas in the State as percentage of total DPAP and DDP area in the country.
(ii) Total treatable wastelands in the State as percentage of total treatable wastelands  in the country.
(iii) Total SC/ST population of the State as percentage of total SC/ST population of the country.
(iv) Percentage of rainfed area in the State to total cultivated area in the country.
(v) 10% mandatory allocation to North- Eastern States.
Role of Ministry of Rural Development
The Ministry of Rural Development, Government of India, has recently created a Department of Land Resources to act as a nodal department in the field of watershed management and development. This has the mandate of developing the valuable land resources of India, which are presently under various stages of degradation and it also endeavors to prevent further degradation of these resources through appropriate management and necessary measures.
The Department of Land Resources, being the nodal department has taken up certain new initiatives to play a more pro-active role in the Land Resource management in the country. At the conceptual level it has been realised that the management rather than the mere use of land is the central theme. There is no dearth of land, the real issue is management which should include: dynamic conservation, sustainable development and equitable access to the benefits of intervention.
The concept of sustainable development focuses on help for the very poor because they are left with no option but to destroy their own environment. It also includes the idea of cost-effective development using differing economic criteria to the traditional approach; that is to say development should not degrade environment quality, or reduce productivity in the long run. The greater issues of health control, appropriate technologies, food self-reliance, clean water and shelter for all are to be addressed. Sustainable development should seek to maintain an acceptable rate of growth in per capita real incomes without depleting the national capital asset stock or the natural environmental asset stock.
Equitable access to the benefits of development could be achieved either through land reforms or a dedicated and institutionalised mode of people’s participation. Here, besides the Government, other players like the corporate sector, NGOs, various institutions and self-help groups can be involved.

Wednesday, 22nd Jan 2014, 09:20:02 AM

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