|A rapid review of the national watershed development project for rainfed areas in India (1997)|
Prem N. Sharma and J.M. Stainburn1
1 Regional Coordinators of the PWMTA, (GCP/RAS/161/NET) and FARM, RAS/93/062 pro grams, based in FAO (UN) Kathmandu, Nepal, and RAP IF AO (UN), Bangkok, Thailand, respectively.
The National Watershed Development Project for Rainfed Areas, hereafter referred to as the NWDPRA, is a major thrust program which was launched by the Department of Agriculture and Cooperation (DOAC) of the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperation (MOAC) of the Government of India during the period of the eighth plan (1992-1997). The program operates in 2,500 small (500-1000 ha) pilot watersheds around the country for over 3.9 million ha of the nation's 148 million ha of rainfed lands. Watersheds having less than 30 percent of their area under irrigation are defined as rainfed watersheds.
The ultimate objective of the NWDPRA is to develop the natural resource base, sustain its productivity, improve the standard of living of millions of poor farmers and landless labourers, and work towards the restoration of the ecological balance. The strategy of the program is primarily based on the twin concepts of integrated watershed management through peoples' participation, and sustainable farming systems development. The program began operations in 1991-92 with a total budget of Rs. 1338.64 crores2 (MOAC, 1992).
2 Approximately US$ 423.5 million (at US$ 1.00 = Rs 31.5 in April 1995).
This review is intended to assist the NWDPRA by identifying gaps and constraints to its successful application and by offering recommendations to strengthen the implementation process with particular attention to the field.