Ministry of Rural Development
azadi ka amrit mahotsav

Shri Giriraj Singh inaugurates National Watershed Conference

The Conference focused on doubling of Farmer’s Income through Production System: Horticulture/ Plantation in watershed project areas

Discussion held on Protecting our Waters through Springshed and Rejuvenating Water Bodies through Mission Amrit Sarovar

Posted On: 14 JUL 2022 7:31PM by PIB Delhi

Keeping the importance of sustainable development of rainfed/degraded land in view, Department of Land Resources organized a National Watershed Conference in New Delhi on 14th July, 2022. The Inaugural session was presided over by Shri Giriraj Singh, Union Minister for Rural Development and Panchayati Raj. Minister of State for Rural Development and Steel, Shri Faggan Singh Kulaste, and Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti, Minister of State for Rural Development and Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution and Minister of State for Panchayati Raj, Shri Kapil Moreshwar Patil graced the occasion. Secretaries and other Senior officers of Central Government Ministries/ Department like Jal Shakti, Rural Development, NITI Aayog, Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Animal Husbandry, National Rainfed Area Authority (NRAA) and others attended the Conference. CEO, NARA and other Senior Officials were also in attendance. Almost 600-700 representatives from all over country were also present.

The Conference comes in the backdrop of the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi raising the commitment of the country to restore degraded land from 21 million hectares to 26 million ha, while receiving the Presidency of COP-14, UNCCD in 2019.

The Conference focused basically on three themes:

(i) Production Systems (Plantation and Horticulture)

(ii) Springshed development

(iii) Amrit Sarovar in Watershed project areas

On this occasion, the Minister also launched e-Book on Achievements of Department of Land Resources and MIS 2.0 for Watershed Development Component of Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana (WDC-PMKSY).

Addressing the State Ministers and Senior officials of the various States, Shri Giriraj Singh called upon the States to learn and adopt the best practices of other States to facilitate cross learning, disseminating Best Practices under WDC-PMKSY 2.0 and strengthening the focus on doubling of Farmer’s Income through Production System and rejuvenating water bodies through Amrit Sarovars.

Shri Giriraj Singh said that while working on degraded land by implementing watershed projects in States/UTs, the efforts should be made to substantially contribute towards doubling of farmers’ income. He impressed upon the role of Afforestation, Horticulture, and Integrated Farming Systems etc. in watershed project areas so that these activities could prove to be supportive towards raising farmers’ incomes to a large extent. He emphasized that States/UTs should make efforts, while implementing the projects in fields to support beneficiaries so that they could be taking best care of their landholdings.

For bringing about the desired impact in implementation of watershed projects, DoLR had invited Padma Shri Awardees like Shri Popatrao Pawar (Hiware Bazar model) and Shri Jadav Payeng (Forest man of India) and for covering the role of springshed development, experts like Shri B M S Rathore (former Chief Policy Advisor, ICIMOD) and Shri D S Meena, Addl. Secretary, Govt. of Uttarakhand were invited.

Shri Ajay Tirkey, Secretary, DoLR, in his address mentioned that WDC-PMKSY has the potential to restore rainfed/degraded land and become all the more indispensable in view of growing population and reduction of per capita availability of agricultural land. He observed that almost 67% of rural population is heavily dependent on agriculture and restoration of rainfed/degraded land could prove a boon for them. He mentioned that activities under the scheme would help arresting degradation of land, restoring productivity, enhancing biodiversity, ecological services and many others benefits. WDC-PMKSY 2.0 would more importantly be dissuading farmers to leave their farmlands and thus help reducing migration which cause mushrooming of forced/unplanned urbanization and lead to other related avoidable implications.

The clarion call of Mission Amrit Sarovar has been given by Prime Minister Modi. WDC-PMKSY 2.0 has got immense potential to create Amrit Sarovars in WDC-PMKSY 2.0 project areas and therefore States/UTs were urged to take suitable initiative.

Watershed Development Component of Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana (WDC-PMKSY)

Department of Land Resources (DoLR) has been mandated by Government of India to implement a Centrally Sponsored Scheme namely, Watershed Development Component of Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana (WDC-PMKSY).

DoLR has financially supported 6382 watershed projects in States/UTs with a target of 29.57 million ha under WDC-PMKSY 1.0 which has successfully been concluded in March 2022. Completion reports and End-line reports of projects are being received in DoLR and the outcomes reported are incredible:

  • increase in ground water table upto 3 m,
  • increase in cultivated area upto 30%,
  • increase in farmer’s annual income upto 70.13%,
  • increase in milk production upto 40% and
  • increase in the cropping intensity upto 18.3%.

So far 5693 projects have been reported as completed by States/UTs covering an area of 27.10 million ha. Meanwhile DoLR has, during December, 2021, also rolled out WDC-PMKSY 2.0 with a Central allocation of Rs.8134 crore and physical target of 4.95 million ha. A total of 1099 projects have already been sanctioned under WDC 2.0. As it was imperative on the part of the Department, with the help of National Rainfed Area Authority (NRAA), DoLR revised the existing Guidelines to make it more inclusive, scientific and explicitly production systems oriented.

Springshed development under WDC-PMKSY 2.0

Under WDC-PMKSY 2.0, Springshed development has been incorporated as a new activity within the project areas of watershed. It was on the basis of recommendation of NITI Aayog which in collaboration with ICIMOD published a report in 2017-18 showing almost 50% of 4-5 million springs in India are either dried up or are on the verge of drying up. The development of springshed in mountainous regions would help address the issues of ecological, economic and biodiversity security of the country.

WDC-PMKSY 2.0 is also important because the Springshed development has been incorporated as one of the new activities. This could be of paramount importance especially for the Himalayan States/UTs and other mountainous regions of the country which are strategically, ecologically, economically socio-politically are of high significance. Ironically, the Himalayan States/UTs receive plenty of rains during the monsoon season but during lean period they face stark problem of paucity of drinking water. Conversely, the fragile Himalayan landscape also encounters ecological degradation and landslide problems very frequently. By rejuvenating springs in mountainous regions under the project areas of WDC-PMKSY 2.0, all States/UTs could immensely be benefitted.

DoLR has taken a lead to capitalize on the potential of WDC-PMKSY 2.0 and contribute substantially towards doubling of farmers’ income, Nationally Determined Contributions, Land Degradation Neutrality and Sustainable Development Goals etc.—thus transforming India.

Government of India’s national Integrated Watershed Management Program (presently WDC-PMKSY) is the second largest watershed program in the world after China (World Bank Report, July 2014).

Shri Nagendra Nath Sinha, Secretary, Ministry of Rural Development, Additional Chief Secretary / Principal Secretary/ Secretary of watershed project implementing Department of State Governments/UTs attended the workshop.



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