The country is facing serious challenge because of extensive land degradation and water stress. Though the estimates may vary, it can be safely stated that nearly half of the country’s area is suffering from excessive runoff resulting in soil erosion and loss of precious water resources. The problem is more severe in rainfed areas of the country. As the agriculture productivity has stabilised in assured irrigated areas, the rainfed areas of the country assume more significance because of its potential for enhancement in productivity by successful implementation of watershed development programme.
What is IWMP ?
The Integrated Watershed Management Programme (IWMP) one of the Flagship programme of Ministry of Rural Development is under implementation by the Department of Land Resources since 2009-10 after integrating three area development programmes namely
- Desert Development Programme (DDP),
- Drought Prone Areas Programme (DPAP) and
- Integrated Wastelands Development Programme (IWDP),
What are the aims of IWMP ?
The main aims of IWMP are harnessing, conserving and developing degraded natural resources such as soil, vegetative cover and water; prevention of soil run-off; rain water harvesting and recharging of the ground water table; increasing the productivity of crops; introduction of multi-cropping and diverse agro-based activities; promoting sustainable livelihoods and increasing the household incomes.
Which are the major activities undertaken ?
The major activities taken up under IWMP inter-alia include ridge area treatment, drainage line treatment, soil and moisture conservation, rain water harvesting, nursery raising, afforestation, horticulture, pasture development, livelihoods for asset less persons. The Department of Land Resources has sanctioned 6622 projects covering an area of 31.29 million hectare and has released the central assistance of Rs.8240.61 crore to the States under IWMP since its inception in 2009-10 to 2013-14 (till November 2013).
What is the project duration?
The project duration of IWMP project varies from 4-7 years.Though the IWMP projects are yet to be completed, the impacts are now visible in many parts of the country.
What benefits can be accrued from IWMP ?
The benefits that are expected to accrue under the IWMP include increase in availability of surface water & groundwater, changes in cropping pattern from one to two crops annually, increase in fodder availability and increase in milk yield, increase in agriculture productivity and increase in employment opportunities and household income.
What is the role of Gram Panchayat in IWMP ?
In the IWMP, Gram Panchayat has been effectively involved to perform important function at Village / Watershed level to keep transparency and peoples participations. The main functions to be performed by GramPanchayat are :
To supervise , support and advise Watershed Committee (WC); Authenticate accounts / expenditure of WC and other institutions of Watershed Projects; Facilitate convergence of other programmes; Maintain asset register / watershed projects to retain it after the project; Provide office accommodation and other requirements to WC and Allocate usufruct rights to deserving User Groups /Self Help Groups over the assets created.