India shares 16% of the world population, while its land is only 2% of the total geographical area of the world. Naturally, the pressure on the land is often beyond its carrying capacity. Therefore, the productive lands, especially the farmlands in the India are in the constant process of various degrees of degradation and are fast turning into wastelands. At present, approximately 68.35 million hectare area of the land is lying as wastelands in India. Out of these lands, approximately 50% lands are such non-forest lands, which can be made fertile again if treated properly. It was unprotected non-forestlands, which suffered the maximum degradation mainly due to the tremendous biotic pressure on it. In the last 50 years it is India’s lush green village forests and woodlots have been deforested to the maximum. It is precisely to restore this ecological imbalance by developing the degraded non-forest wastelands, Govt. of India had created the Department of Wasteland Development during July,1992 under the Ministry of Rural Development, which has been subsequently reorganized and renamed Department of Land Resources, with a broader mandate.
A degraded Wasteland
National Wasteland Development Board was established in 1985 under the Ministry of Forests and Environment mainly to tackle the problem of degradation of lands, restoration of ecology and to meet the growing demands of fuel wood and fodder at the national level. During the Seventh Five Year Plan, the strategy adopted by the National Wasteland Development Board emphasised more on tree planting activities rather than Community Participation for wasteland development, In the year 1992, the new Department under the Ministry Of Rural Development (now Ministry of Rural Areas and Employment) was created and the National Wasteland Development Board was placed under it. The Board was reconstituted in August 1992 and was made responsible for mainly development of wastelands in non forest areas in totality by involving local people at every stage of development. It aims at creating a scenario where the Government acts as a facilitator and the people at the grass root level become the real executioner of the programme. Major programme implemented for improving the productivity of waste & degraded lands keeping in view the poverty, backwardness, gender & equity is Integrated Wasteland Development Programme.
INTEGRATED WASTELAND DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMME (IWDP).
The degradation of environment in the fragile Indian sub-topical eco-system is basically attributed to:-
Increasing biotic pressure
Absence of adequate investments and appropriate management practices.
High rate of Population growth and high incidence poverty in rural areas.
Over-exploitation of National Resources.
The break-down of traditional institutions for managing common property resources and failure of new institutions to fill the vacuum.
Faulty land use practices.
Soil Erosion Land Degradation
Increase in the extent of Wastelands
Depletion of natural resources
Ground Water Depletion
Shortage of Drinking Water
Reduction in Species Diversity
Development of wastelands mainly in non-forest areas aimed at checking land degradation , putting such wastelands of the country to SUSTAINABLE use & increasing bio-mass availability especially that of fuelwood , fodder , fruits, fiber & small timber. Government of India is taking up this colossal task through its INTEGRATED WASTELAND DEVELOPMENT PROJECT SCHEME (IWDP) by revitalizing & reviving village level institutions & enlisting people's participation. It is people's own programme which aims at giving them actual decision making powers in terms of project implementation & fund disbursal.
It is one programme which is making sincere efforts towards the empowerment of the people so that a sense of collective responsibility can be evolved among them. The new guidelines for watershed development provides a paradigm shift in the traditional approach where the role of the Government is changed from that of governance to facilitation. The institutional arrangements envisaged in the Guidelines can be seen as a true reflections of the Agenda 21 where the sustainability comes through the involvement of people & the local bodies. The approach of watershed development in a holistic manner automatically strikes a prudent balance between environmental concerns & developmental aspirations. The efforts being made under the guidelines can be termed as sincere & honest as here the survival of life itself is at stake with the watershed development rather than the quality of life itself as compared to similar situations in the developed countries. In fact , the effective community control has been an integral part of the Indian social fabric which was fragmented by the colonial rule. This programme is an effort towards its restoration & a small step in the achievement of this goal which might turn into a big leap with the support from the people.
Villagers during a meeting on Watershed
WHAT IS WATERSHED DEVELOPMENT ?
Watershed development refers to the conservation regeneration and the judicious use of all the resources – natural ( like land, water plants, animals) and human – within the watershed area. Watershed Management tries to bring about the best possible balance in the environment between natural resources on the one side and man and animals on the other. Since it is the man which is primarily responsible for degradation of environment, regeneration and conservation can only be possible by promoting awakening and participation among the people who inhabit the watersheds.
WHY WATERSHED DEVELOPMENT ?
Man and his environment are interdependent. The changes in the environment directly affect the lives of the people depending on it. A degraded environment means a degraded quality of life of the people. Environmental degradation can be tackled effectively through the holistic development of the watershed. A watershed provides a natural geo-hydrological unit for planning any developmental initiative.
A Check Dam
|Total Geographical Area||329 mha.|
|Records available||304 mha.|
|Area fit for vegetation||264 mha.|
|Area under Crops||142 mha.|
|Area under forest||67 mha.|
|Degraded Area in villages||35 mha.|
|Degraded Area with farmers||20 mha.|
What are Wastelands ?
Degraded land which can be brought under vegetative cover, with reasonable effort, and which is currently under utilised and land which is deteriorating for lack of appropriate water and soil management or on account of natural causes.
The programme does not focus solely on uncultivable wastelands because such lands are:
Too degraded to recoupe in isolation
Cost of treatment is very expensive and economical
Such lands are too remote from the village through protection of vegetative measures and participation of local people is not possible
|Barren Rocky/Sheet Rock||64584.77|
|Land affected by salinity/alkalinity||20477.38|
|Gullied/or ravinous land||20553.35|
|Upland with or without scrub||194014.29|
|Water logged & Marshy||16568.45|
|Steep sloping area||7656.29|
|Shifting cultivation land||35142.20|
|Under utilised/degraded notified forest land||140652.31|
|Degraded land under plantation crop||5828.09|
Grand Total: 638518.31 sq. kms
WHY PEOPLE’S PARTICIPATION?
There is a close relationship between the environment and the community living within that area as the community derives sustenance from it. Increase in biotic pressure leads to over-exploitation and degradation of natural resources. Paucity of resources also leads to internal conflict giving opportunity to others to exploit the situation. It is thus necessary for people to realize the intrinsic relationship between population, poverty and degraded environment they live in. the poor, in the developing country like India are left with no option but to degrade their own environment for their very own survival.
Still, it is only they who can restore the health to environment thus ruined, outside actors can only facilitate but never substitute for stake holders. Hence, there can be no sustainable natural resources management unless it involves all inhabitants of the affected areas in an active manner and development plans are formulated and executed by them.
Integration of indigenous technologies with development is vital. Rural people’s knowledge and the technological advancements are complimentary in their strengths and weaknesses. Combined together, they may achieve what neither would achieve along. Low cost locally available technology with suitable intervention by latest advancements yields best solution.
It is clear that the watershed development cannot be done in isolation. It is a natural entity and may contain different types of lands namely, forest lands, community lands, government lands or private lands. These lands can be treated on "ridge to valley" approach. A land lying in a valley cannot be improved if the land at upper reaches is not treated. Treatment of land in a scattered manner will not lead to wasteland development. Mere treatment of land is not enough. Land and people cannot and should not be viewed in isolation. So the best possible strategy would be treating the land by empowering the people who live in it. It is watershed plus approach which takes care of holistic development. Therefore, the entire watershed community is to be involved for the integrated development of watershed and the assets created in such an effort are to also be maintained through the people of the watershed community in order to ensure sustainability. People’s participation also ensure conservation and development of Common Property Resources. Besides when people decide what they have to do their stake in development become more pronounced leading to their intense involvement. This involvement in decision making is the key to success which brings sustainable development. Hence people’s participation is the approach for the purpose.
Integrated Wastelands Development Project (IWDP) Scheme
This scheme is under implementation since 1989-90, and has come to this Department along with the National Wastelands Development Board. The development of non-forest wastelands is taken up under this Scheme. The scheme provides for the development of an entire micro watershed in an holistic manner rather than piecemeal treatment in sporadic patches.. The thrust of the scheme continues to be on development of wastelands.
The basic objective of this scheme is an integrated wastelands development based on village/micro watershed plans. These plans are prepared after taking into consideration the land capability, site condition and local needs of the people.
The scheme also aims at rural employment besides enhancing the contents of people's participation in the wastelands development programmes at all stages, which is ensured by providing modalities for equitable and sustainable sharing of benefits and usufructs arising from such projects.
The major activities taken up under the scheme are:
In situ soil and moisture conservation measures like terracing, bunding, trenching, vegetative barriers and drainage line treatment.
Planting and sowing of multi-purpose trees, shrubs, grasses, legumes and pasture land development.
Encouraging natural regeneration.
Promotion of agro-forestry & horticulture.
Wood substitution and fuel wood conservation measures.
Awareness raising, training & extension.
Encouraging people's participation through community organization and capacity building.
Drainage Line treatment by vegetative and engineering structures
Development of small water Harvesting Structures.
Afforestation of degraded forest and non forest wasteland.
Development and conservation of common Property Resources.
To restore the ecological balance in the degraded watersheds through sustained community action, mass mobilization is needed. The programme can only succeed when the community is motivated enough to realize that the programme is not only for eco-restoration through watershed development but also to addresses their other pressing socio-economic needs. The activities under this community organization include organizing Self Help Groups and User Groups, Participatory Rural Appraisal (PRA) exercises, awareness camps, exposure visits & programmes on literacy, family welfare, social services, income generating activities etc. giving small contributions to SHGs or other village institutions like mahila mandals/ youth clubs/ anganwadis which are considered important for people participation.
The idea is rapport building with the people at grass root level and PIA. The people must feel that the programme belongs to them and its success depends on them only. Once the people realize that it is they who own the programme, the sustenance of the project evolves.
One of the notable features of this component is the flexibility available to the PIAs (Project Implementing Agencies). There is a provision for entry point activities for trust building exercise and speedy community organization. Under this component they can even take up those works which are not directly related to conservation and wasteland development. Certain works of great priority and importance to villagers such as repairing and construction of community and panchayat houses, sanitation improvement, provision of drinking water school building etc. can be taken up. Effective community organization is important to establish credibility of the Watershed Development Team and create a rapport with the village community who is ultimately going to own and implement the programme even after withdrawing the Government machinery.
THE NEW GUIDELINES FOR WATERSHED DEVELOPMENT
The IWDP scheme is being implemented on the basis of new Guidelines for Watershed Development from 1.4.1995. The new common Guidelines envisage the bottom up approach whereby the Users’ Group themselves decide their work programme.
The strength of the Guidelines lies in the decentralization of decision making process by involving local Panchayati Raj Institutions, NGOs, Government Departments and the watershed community at the grass root level It is an effort on the part of the Govt. to remove the stumbling blocks that have delayed the process of development. In fact , the initiatives taken by the DoWD aim at establishing a system under which village people can actually involve themselves in planning, implementation and monitoring of watershed development programmes. In preparation of the Watershed Development Plan, Users and Self Help Groups and other people directly depending on the watershed are actually involved.
The new guidelines attempt to make the projects sustainable by establishing Watershed Development Fund and involving people in deciding equity issues and usufruct sharing mechanism.
Another strength of these guidelines lies on the flexible approach followed in the method of release of funds, the area to be covered in each watershed as well as choice of components.
MAIN FEATURES OF GUIDELINES FOR WATERSHED DEVELOPMENT
Applicable to All Area Development Schemes.
Recommended by Hanumantha Rao Committee Report.
Came into effect from Ist April, 1995.
Decentralized Decision making.
Involvement of local people at Grass-root level.
Promotion of locally available low cost Technology.
Involvement of Panchayat Raj Institutions
Upliftment of landless persons and others belonging to weaker sections
Special programme for social and economic upliftment of women
Recharging Wells in IWDP Projects
Common Guidelines for Watershed Development
Cost norms Rs. 4000 per ha.
Effective from 1.4.1995.
People’s participation through Institutional Arrangements
All area development schemes on watershed development basis
Decentralised decision making
Strong technical and training input
People’s participation and involvement of Panchayati Raj Institution
Development of village level institutions
THE OLD AND NEW GUIDELINES
Initially, Department of Wastelands Development sanctioned 128 projects for Wastelands Development in various districts of India under Old guidelines. These guidelines envisaged a fixed work programme to be followed by District Rural Development Agencies/Zilla Parishads. Components for each project were designed by the PIAs which used to be sanctioned at the Central level.
From 1.4.1995, Common Guidelines for Watershed Development were adopted with a view to involve watershed community at all levels of project implementation right from project formulation till its completion. The decision making and funds disbursement powers are given to the people under these Guidelines.
Wasteland Development through holistic development of Degraded watershed.
Employment of people through Institutional arrangements
Planning from below bottom up approach.
Sustainability through people’s participation.
Equitable distribution of Usufructs.
To make the programme successful, proper Institutional arrangement has been provided in the Guidelines from state level to village level. These institutions help in making the programme broad based, sustainable and equitable. These institutions are given below:
STATE WATERSHED PROGRAMME AND REVIEW COMMITTEE
WATERSHED DEVELOPMENT ADVISORY COMMITTEES
PROJECT IMPLEMENTATION AGENCIES (PIA)
WATERSHED DEVELOPMENT TEAM (WDT)
WATERSHED COMMITTEE (WC)
SELF HELP GROUPS
State Watershed Programme Implementation and Review Committee
This is an apex organisation at a state level under the chairmanship of Chief Secretary/Addl.Chief Secretary/APC. Representatives of prominent NGOs, SIRDs, Heads of Department of related Departments are also member of the Committee. The Committee undertakes monitoring, review and evaluation of Watershed Development projects. It is an important link between DRDAs and Department of Wastelands Development. Success of programme depend on functioning of State Watershed Programme Implementation and Review Committee.
i. District Rural Development Agency/ZP:- DRDA/ZP is a key institution in the programme execution. The project is sanctioned in favour of the DRDA and funds are released to it directly from Government of India. The DRDA is responsible for successful implementation of the project as per guidelines and submission of various reports and returns to DoWD as well as State Government.
ii. Project Implementing Agency:- The PIA is an organisation having sufficient exposure and experience in the field of community organsiation as well as watershed development activities. These organsiations can be reputed NGOs having proven credibility or technical officers like DFO, Soil Conservation Officer, Horticulture Officer, etc. The PIA is an important link between the villagers and the DRDA. It imparts technical know how to the villagers with the help of Watershed Development Team and ensures that programme is executed as per Guidelines and funds are spent judiciously. It compiles information from Watershed Committees and send to DRDA.
iii. Watershed Development Team:-The Watershed Development Team is a multi-disciplinary team responsible for technical and financial supervision of the project activities. The team consists of field level officials drawn from various disciplines like forestry, soil conservation, horticulture, social sciences etc. These officials are key functionaries in sensitisation of Self help Groups/User Groups and villagers at large.
iv. Watershed Development Association:- Watershed Development Association (WA) consists of all members of the village whose land is situated in the watershed area called user group (UG) and all those members who drive sustenance from the watershed area called self help group (SHG).
v. Watershed Committee:- Watershed Committee (WC) is the key institution at Watershed level consisting of about 2-3 representatives, each of UG, SHG, Panchayat and women etc. Committee also appoints a Watershed Secretary preferably a local man graduate from the same area.
Sanctioning of Project
The IWDP Scheme is 100% Grant-in-Aid from Government of India. The projects are sanctioned on getting basic information from DRDAs about the watershed to be treated and capability of the PIA and over all situation in the area. A well laid criteria for selection of watersheds has been provided in para 27 of the Guidelines. The watersheds selected for the projects should be as far as possible contiguous and there should be preponderance of wastelands. Acute shortage of drinking water, low wage rates and non over lapping of watersheds with any other project are other requirements.
Instead of detailed project having action plan suggested by the Government officials, the project is sanctioned after obtaining basic information in respect of project areas/watersheds and detailed action plan is prepared by the villagers themselves under the guidance of Watershed Development Team
Under IWDP scheme the projects are sanctioned in non DPAP/DDP areas. Normally, not more than two projects are sanctioned in a district. The
DRDA/ZP after getting satisfied that there is a need of watershed development, and that there are suitable PIAs to implement the project, send the project proposal to DoWD. DoWD after proper scrutiny of proposal, in consultation with Internal Finance Division sanctions the project in favour of DRDA/ZP concern and first instalment of allotment is released in favour of DRDA by telegraphic transfer.
Funding Mechanism and Flow of Funds
Funds from DRDA flow to Watershed Committees who open an account in the nearest bank to be operated jointly by WDT member and local man i.e. Secretary of WC. The Watershed Committee is the primary unit which is directly involved in implementation of the programme right from preparation of action plan and check measurements of works and payment of wages. The WC also decides usufruct sharing mechanism and post project sustenance arrangements.
The WC also maintains an account called Watershed Development Fund Account, where contribution realised from the members of Watershed Associations are deposited for utilisation in post project maintenance of assets. Contribution in shape of labour, cash and kind are valued and kept in interest bearing account.
FLOW OF FUNDS
FROM DRDA TO PIA
FROM DOWD TO DRDA
FROM PIA TO WATERSHED COMMITTEE
WATERSHED COMMITTEE TO EXECUTE THE PROJECTS
FUNDING PATTERN ( DISTRIBUTION )
Rs.4,000 per ha.
OBJECTIVES OF TRAINING
Successful Implementation of the Wastelands Development Projects.
Understanding various aspects of the Wastelands Development.
Sustainability of Projects
Planning implementation & Monitoring of Wastelands Development Projects.
Empowering the Masses
CRITERIA FOR SELECTION OF TRAINING INSTITUTIONS
Experience in implementation of watershed development projects as PIA
Good Library and Availability of Communication
Technology and other Facilities for imparting Training.
Faculties for training with adequate qualification
Ability to arrange field visits
Linkages with other academic and research institutions involved in watershed development.
Training of User Groups
Concept of Watershed Development
Accounts and Administration
Issue of Equity and Sustainability
Scientific Inputs - GIS & Role of Remote Sensing in Watershed Development
Role of Panchayati Raj Institutions
Involvement of women & weaker Sections of Society.
VARIOUS LEVELS TO BE TRAINED
State Level-Secretaries, State Watershed Programme Implementations & Review Committee Members, Head of line Departments
District Level-CEO of Zila Parishad, Project Directors, District Rural Development Agencies and line Dept. Officers
Block Level - BDOs & Line Deptt. Officers, Ext. Officers and Village Development Officers
Project Implementing Agencies and 'would be' PIAs
Watershed Development Team Members
WC (Watershed Committee) Members
Self Help Groups and Users Groups
Villagers in General
The projects under IWDP Scheme aim at sustainability in the long run. This is achieved through the establishment of Watershed Development Fund which takes care of past project maintenance and sustenance. This fund is meant to sustain the maintenance of the assets created during the course of project implementation so that the people in the watershed area continue to reap the benefits even after the completion of the project.
Further, the village level institutions such as Watershed Association/Watershed Committee remain in position even after the PIA withdraws from the project after its completion. These institutions have intrinsic strength as they are self constituted and lead by natural leaders in the villages.
The institutional arrangements envisaged in the guidelines ensure sustainability through the following :
Constitution of watershed dev. fund
Active people’s participation
Involvement of panchayats
Involvement of self help groups, user groups, women & weaker sections
Community needs taken care of
Sustainable use of Water Resources
CONSTITUTION OF SELF HELP GROUP’S
CREATION OF REVOLVING FUND
GREATER ACCESS TO INCOME GENERATING OPPORTUNITIES
SHARING OF BENEFITS BY COMMUNITY
ASSETS WITH WEAKER SECTIONS OF POPULATION
MORE EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITIES FOR LANDLESS AND WEAKER SECTION
IMPROVED PRODUCTIVITY OF WASTELANDS
IMPROVED AVAILABILITY OF FUEL-WOOD AND FODDER
INCREASE IN WATER TABLE
REDUCTION IN MIGRATION
IMPROVEMENT OF ECONOMIC STATUS OF THE PEOPLE