Watershed management is the process of guiding and organizing the use of land and other resources in a watershed to provide desired goods and services without adversely affecting soil and water resources. Each project under the programme is a micro-level effort to achieve this objective by treating the under productive or unproductive land and taking up allied activities for the benefit of the landless. The programmes adopt a common strategy of multi resource management involving all stakeholders within the watershed who, together as a group, co-operatively identify the resource issues and concerns of the watershed as well as develop and implement a watershed plan with solutions that are environmentally, socially and economically sustainable.
To accelerate the pace of development of wastelands/degraded lands the Government had set up the National Wastelands Development Board in 1985 under the Ministry of Environment and Forests. Later a separate Department of Wastelands Development in the Ministry of Rural Development and Poverty Alleviation was created in 1992 and the National Wastelands Development Board was transferred to it. In April 1999, Department of Wastelands Development was renamed as the Department of Land Resources to act as the nodal agency for land resource management. Consequently, all land-based development programmes and the Land Reforms Division were brought under this department. Drought Prone Areas Programme (DPAP), Desert Development Programme (DDP) and Integrated Wastelands Development Programme (IWDP) were the watershed management programmes implemented by the department.
Later for optimum use of resources, sustainable outcomes and integrated planning, DPAP, DDP and IWDP were consolidates as the Watershed Development Component of Prime Minister Krishi Sinchayee Yojna (WDC-PMKSY).
The main objectives of the WDC-PMKSY are to restore the ecological balance by harnessing, conserving and developing degraded natural resources such as soil, vegetative cover and water. The outcomes are prevention of soil erosion, regeneration of natural vegetation, rain water harvesting and recharging of the ground water table. This enables multi-cropping and the introduction of diverse agro-based activities, which help to provide sustainable livelihoods to the people residing in the watershed area.
The salient features of WDC-PMKSY are as below:
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Neeranchal is a World Bank assisted National Watershed Management Project. Neeranchal is designed to further strengthen and provide technical assistance to the Watershed Component of PMKSY, in particular and all components of PMKSY, in general, to enhance its delivery capacity. The programme is being implemented in nine participating states - Andhra Pradesh, Chattisgarh, Gujarat, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha, Rajasthan and Telangana.
For achieving the major objectives of the Watershed Component of the Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayi Yojana (PMKSY) and for ensuring access to irrigation to every farm (Har Khet Ko Pani) and efficient use of water (Per Drop More Crop), Neeranchal is primarily designed to address the following concerns:
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Source : Department of Land reforms