New initiative

Published: Thursday 31 August 1995

Digging deep: watershed develo THE watershed development programme in the country is all set to get a major thrust with the decision of the ministry of rural areas and employment to set aside Rs 3,000 crore - almost half of the total funds meant fot the Jawahar Rozgar Yojana and the Employment Assurance Scheme - for its implementation.

The activities under the development programme will include soil conservation, gully plugging, contour building and constructing tanks for harvesting rain wfiter. Watershed development in India has traditionally been covered under the Drought Prone Areas Programme and the Desert Development Programmes.

The new decision is the outcome of the 144hember Hanumantha Rao Committe e, report which stated that the prodkammo Is effectiveness had been stur4ed owing to inadequate funding; besides, the report also criticised the programme's lack of direction. It added that any watershed development programme must involve the people who would be the final beneficiaries.

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