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Improving the village economy in india

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India is endowed with a rich and vast diversity of natural resources, water being one of them. Its development and management plays a vital role in agriculture production. Integrated water management is vital for poverty reduction, environmental sustenance and sustainable economic development.

National Water Policy (2002)


Agriculture contributes significantly in the Indian economy. Agriculture engages 60% of India s population and more than 16 corer hectare of land. Fragmentation of land is very common in India so that average maximum land is owned by the marginal and small farmer. Indian agriculture works are mainly depending on the rainwater precipitation for the production. The average annual rain fall is 105 cm which is much higher than most of the developed countries in the world like Russia, USA, and Australia. Despite this, performance in India in agriculture sector is very much low as comparison to these countries in total agricultural production. Lag in Indian agriculture production is not only due to lack of technology but irrigation water also affected of the production of the crop.

India has share the about 16 percent of the global population but the land posses only 4 percent of the water of the water resources (Government of the India planning commission, 2001). The government of the India giving more focus on the development of the watershed development programme since independence but now in the recent two decade the emphasis on the development of the water source and conservation of the natural resources. India is facing a big problem in the rapid degradation of the natural resources (land, water and forest). This degradation can be easily measured by the measuring the indicator like decreased in the productive, increasing the soil erosion and increased in the barren land, decreased in the forest area, decreased in the ground water table and most importantly deceased in the available drinking water qualitative and quantative. The climate change is also affect the livelihood of the villager people in terms of the frequent flood and drought which completely destroyed the agriculture productivity.

The main objective of the watershed development programme is to protect the land from the soil erosion and the prevent soil erosion. The tank is the larger water harvesting structure then the check dam or a farm pond and serves as the collection centre of rainwater and the researching of the rainwater. Hence tank is treated as the integral part of the watershed for all purpose of development. The government of the India is giving more focus on the development of the water bodies. In the 11 five year plan the government of India is give the guideline for the national project for the repair, renovation and restoration of the local water bodies in the watershed development programme.

Table 1: Basic detail about the Indian agriculture system

Land and Water resources of India

of rainfall. Rainfall in India is exceeds 1000 mm in area like Cherapunji where as some rainfall is less then 100mm which badly affect the livelihood condition of the farmer. West coast and western coast and the most of the Assam and sub-Himalaya West Bengal, rain fall extend up to the 2500mm.

Tank is the traditional resource management system took place in the colonial times, regulation of water has been maintained by the community. Earlier tank are maintain by the king or temple committee and whatever income generated from the expense on the management of the tank. Tank development programme is considered as the holistic village development programme. Tank development programme is included the water conservation, soil conservation and natural resource conservation.

The water harvesting structure is helpful in capturing and storing the natural rainfall during the monsoon time of this stored water for the future use for irrigation and multipurpose use of community.



In India mainly three type of source of irrigation water is available which are tank water, tube well and canal water. At the time of independence the area irrigated under different system is almost equal but the now the trend is totally different. The area irrigated under canal is reduced drastically and area under well irrigation is increased significantly. The watershed project which is implemented in different state in India is during the year 1994 to 1999 which is mention in table 1.

Importance in village livelihood

Source: Hanumantha Rao, 2000

Indian government had given the much focus on the development of the watershed since after independence. Table 2 shows that though the plan outlay for irrigation sector has increased over

The years, the percentage distribution of fund allotted for the irrigation and flood control

shows a decreasing trend except during the Sixth plan and annual plan 1979-80. Such type of the investment not only increased the agriculture production but also the contribution of agriculture in the Indian GDP is also increased.

The percentage of the fund is increasing in each five plan. If we see the pattern the flow of the fund is irregular in nature. The maximum allocation of the fund in the VII five year plans but the distribution is large in the VI five year plans.

Period Amount (Rs. Corer)


Present status

The Department of Land Resources in the Ministry of Rural Development is administering three area-based watershed programmes for development of wastelands/degraded lands namely Drought Prone Areas Programmes (DPAP), Desert Development Programme (DDP) and Integrated Wastelands Development Programme (IWDP) to check the diminishing productivity of wasteland and loss of natural resources.(government of India,). The different programme is lunch by the Indian government to increase the irrigation water capacity.

Name of Scheme


Future plan

Rain fed agriculture development thought the conservation of the rainwater is the best practice in the watershed development. According to the Hanumantha Rao committee report, the impact and significance of the watershed project under the drought prone area programme is huge. There is a market improvement of the in the access to drinking water availability in the project area. Crop yield have been increased and there is also substantial improvement in the area under the rabbi crop. This will leads to the raise in the employment and reduction of the migration of the labour. The area under fodder crop is also increased so that milk production sector also show the improvement and this will helpful in the increasing the income of the poor and marginal people. According to the minor irrigation department of the India the ultimate potential is 81. 43 m. ha. The potential created is 60. 81 m. ha. And the potential utilisation is 52. 81 m. ha. The expenditure on the minor irrigation sector during the 10th five year plan is Rs. 13, 775 corers. The minor irrigation provides the planty of the scope for the employment of the unskilled labour and development of the watershed is mostly integrated with the NEREGA project. The recommendation of the water bodies under the NAREGA project is 72000 tanks which were not previously not in used including the improving the inflow and storage capacity and improving the efficiency of the system.

The important aspect in the tank based watershed development is the scope for the fishery. According to the Indian metrological society, during the five year one year has surplus rainfall and two year has satisfactory rainfall and rest three year has the dry period.



Watershed development in all over India need to be integrated approached for bringing the comprehensive development. Integrated approached is only possible through revivals of all water bodies and bridge and valley concept. The condition of the tank in the watershed area by forming the cascade approached. The tank cascade are interlinks in the watershed area, which will have a common supply and drainage channel. The maintenance of the seasonal and epidermal river is also help in the development of the watershed for the drinking and maintaining the ground water table apart from the irrigation purpose. There is also need of crating the awareness among the people about the importance of the tank based watershed bodies. There is also need of the making interface between people organisation promoted by the watershed and line department of government. NGO s role is very crucial in the creating awareness in the people organisation for the watershed and making a good relationship between people organisation and the line department working together. The development of the watershed committee will responsible for the maintenance of the watershed water bodies. There is also a need of, proper role, right and responsibility is provided to this committee and local government (Panchayat) is also recognised the work of this committee. To make huge awareness in the people the watershed committee is also involved in the in watershed plus activity. These activities are carried out on the continuity basis rather than, it will close after the completion of the project. the closing of the work after the completion of the project not only lead the poor management in the future but also people also lose the interest in the keeping the alive watershed.

Watershed development has multipurpose used and this potential source of the generating the livelihood opportunity rather than proving the only source of the irrigation.

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