More funds for watershed programmes

Allocation increased from Rs 3,050 crore in 2012-13 to Rs 5,387 crore

By Anupam Chakravartty
Published: Thursday 28 February 2013

Rainfed and drought prone regions in the country are likely to see a boost in water conservation schemes. Finance Minister P Chidambaram has increased the allocation for the Integrated Watershed Management Programme (IWMP) from Rs 3,050 crore in 2012-13 to Rs 5,387 crore.

While presenting the Budget, Chidambaram said that watershed management is crucial to improve productivity of land and water use.

Started in 2009 by the Union Ministry of Rural Development, IWMP was developed through participatory approach in various ecologically-stressed and rainfed areas to boost farming. In 2008, three different programmes, Drought Prone Areas Programme (DPAP), Desert Development Programme (DDP) and Integrated Wastelands Development Programme (IWDP) of the Department of Land Resources, were integrated and consolidated into a single modified programme called IWMP.

The programme envisages creation of micro-watersheds in areas of 1,000 to 5,000 hectares, for which the cost of one micro-watershed per hectare has been calculated as Rs 12,000 for plains and Rs 15,000 for hilly areas. The costs are shared by the Central and the state governments in 90:10 ratio. Further, IWMP seeks creation of dedicated institutional structures at Central, state, district, project and village level. One per cent of the total cost goes into detailed project report preparation, while two per cent of the project cost is used for monitoring and evaluation of the projects. IWMP also integrates livelihoods as a component of programmes, thereby generating employment.

IWMP activities include soil and moisture conservation measures like terracing, bunding, trenching and vegetative barriers. Watershed management also includes rainwater harvesting activities such as farm ponds, percolation tanks, check dams, while plantation of trees and agro-forestry are also important components.

The programme has been successful in several regions of the country. One of the most successful examples is that of Karnataka. Recently, the Government of India and the World Bank signed a US $60 million (Rs 326 crore) credit agreement for the Karnataka Watershed Development Project II (KWDP II) to further improve watershed planning and management in project areas. The project will improve government watershed operations in 930 micro-watersheds covering 465,000 hectares across seven districts of Karnataka.


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