Monday, January 20th, 2020

Parliamentary Consultative Committee on Watershed Programs meets in Udaipur; Dr. C.P.Joshi calls for making the program pro-people and pro-poor

INVC,, Delhi,, The Parliamentary Consultative Committee on Watershed Programs held its meeting in Udaipur, Rajasthan today. In his opening remarks the Union Rural Development and Panchayati Raj Minister Dr. C. P. Joshi has emphasized the need to make the programs sensitive to the needs of small and marginal farmers, women and landless labourers so that they are not left out of watershed related decision making process. Dr. Joshi urged that the need of the hour is to streamline the operations of the Watershed Management Programs so that the benefits reach out to the needy and poor in rural areas. The Minister also expressed concern over the lack of appropriate institutional arrangements so that it is sustainable in the long run. Secretary, Land Resources, Anita Chaudhary said that a collaborative effort is required to map how much land is available for watershed treatment since different agencies have put forward different estimates. She underlined the importance of GIS based information for effective monitoring of the program. Integrated Watershed Management Program (IWMP) is operational in place of the three earlier programs, DDP, DPAP and IWDP since 26th February 2009. Periodical monitoring is done for pre-IWMP projects. The pre IWMP projects are also monitored through MIS. All projects that have received 45% of the funds need to be evaluated by an independent agency before the release of remaining fund. Participation of community has been emphasized in planning, budgeting, implementation and management of watershed projects. The progress of the IWMP is encouraging. For 2009-10 the physical target was 54.10 lakh ha against which 62.99 lakh ha has been achieved. For the current year 20010-11, the target is 85 lakh ha of land against which till 30-09-2010 36.32 lakh ha has been achieved. In order to ensure that people engaged in the implementation of the program are capable enough, 5% of the total capacity project cost has been earmarked for capacity building. Livelihood orientation, 10% of the project cost is earmarked for development of sustainable livelihood options for asset less people whereas, 13% of the project cost is dedicated for productivity enhancement and development of micro enterprises for small and marginal farmers. Impact assessment study undertaken by institutions like ICRISAT and TERI has appreciated the program. The soil loss of 1.1 tonne/ha/year has been prevented due to intervention of the watershed program. There is an increase in the net sown area, grass cropped area and area sown more than once. In order to inculcate more transparency and better management of the projects, a new initiative of near-real time monitoring of watershed activities using GIS and remote sensing have been launched on Pilot basis in Bhilwara District. Watershed management plays a pivotal role in food security and environmental security by integrating several components like soil and water conservation, forestry development, agriculture and livestock. One of the ways is through treating underproductive lands and by taking up allied activities for the benefit of landless. Government has taken scores of measures to increase the productivity of rainfed/degraded land through the process of integrated watershed management. For a country like ours watershed management has a lot of significance because its growth trajectory depend lot on the productivity of land. Today’s meeting was attended by 18 members of the parliamentary consultative committee on watershed programs.It is expected that the deliberations at the Parliamentary Consultative Committee meeting will pave the way for a better and effective implementation of Watershed Programs across the country.

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