Neeranchal National Watershed Project
As a part GS-3 – Irrigation systems, We need to focus on relevant projects/schemes launched in 2015-16. We will try to bring all such important projects/schemes. One such project is, “Neeranchal” for the Watershed Component of the Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayi Yojana (PMKSY), Let’s see it in brief!
What is a watershed?
A watershed also known as drainage basin is an extent or an area of land where surface water from rain, melting snow or ice converges to a single point at a lower elevation, usually the exit of the basin, where the waters join another waterbody, such as a river, lake etc.
What is watershed management?
- Watershed management is an adaptive, comprehensive, integrated multi-resource management planning process that seeks to balance healthy ecological, economic, and cultural/social conditions within a watershed.
- Watershed management serves to integrate planning for land and water; it takes into account both ground and surface water flow, recognizing and planning for the interaction of water, plants, animals and human land use found within the physical boundaries of a watershed.
What are the objectives of Neeranchal?
- The Neeranchal Project will support PMKSY to improve watershed management practices and demonstrate measurable results in selected sub-watersheds
- It will introduce new hydrological approaches and innovative tools for community participation with a more integrated watershed planning process
- Pilot new field practices that will improve conservation outcomes, water availability, agricultural yields and climate resilience, and scale up a more effective monitoring and evaluation system to track performance
- The project will be implemented by the Ministry of Rural Development over a six-year period (2016-21)
Let’s first learn about Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchai Yojana (PMKSY)
- PMKSY is a central scheme that aims at providing irrigation facilities to every village in the country by converging ongoing irrigation schemes
- The vision of extending the coverage of irrigation ‘Har Khet Ko Paani’ and improving water use efficiency ‘More crop per drop’ in a focused manner
- With end to end solution on source creation, distribution, management, field application and extension activities
- A dynamic annual fund allocation methodology mandates states, to allot more funds to irrigation sectors for becoming eligible to access funds under this scheme, is being considered
The Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana programme should concentrate on 2 important things –
- First, it should quickly put to use 20–40 million ha of unutilised irrigation potential created in major, medium and minor irrigation projects
- Second, it should provide better quality power rations to farmers during the time of peak irrigation demand.
- Madhya Pradesh has done precisely this and multiplied the state’s irrigated area quickly, at small incremental cost, delivering double-digit agricultural growth
What about funding ?
- The Government of India and the World Bank have signed a US$ 178.50 million credit for the Neeranchal National Watershed Project to improve watershed management in rural rainfed areas
- The credit will support the watershed activities of the PMKSY in selected states of Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha and Rajasthan
- It will cover about 400 sub-watersheds of about 5,000 ha each and reach approximately 482,000 farmer households and two million people
- The credit is from the International Development Association (IDA) – the World Bank’s concessionary lending arm with a maturity of 25 years, including a 5 year grace period
[IDA – International financial institution which offers concessional loans and grants to the world’s poorest developing countries. The IDA is a member of the World Bank Group]
Concerns that will be addressed by Neeranchal-
- Bring about institutional changes in watershed and rainfed agricultural management practices in India
- Build systems that ensure watershed programmes and rainfed irrigation management practices are better focused, and more coordinated, and have quantifiable results
- Devise strategies for the sustainability of improved watershed. management practices in programme areas, even after the withdrawal of project support
- Through the watershed plus approach, support improved equity, livelihoods, and incomes through forward linkages, on a platform of inclusiveness and local participation
What are the benefits?
- Lead to reducing surface runoff of rainwater
- It will increase recharge of groundwater and better availability of water in rainfed areas
- It resulting in incremental rainfed agriculture productivity, enhanced milk yield and increased cropping intensity through better convergence related programmes in project areas
- It will strengthen and provide technical assistance to enhance delivery capacity
- This is an area development programme and all people living in the project area will be benefitted
What are the challenges ahead?
- Enhanced participation of communities, building stronger capacities and systems to plan, implement, monitor and post-project sustainability of local institutions and assets
- These challenges, if not resolved, can result in implementation delays, slow disbursements and benefits
Want to read more?
- Irrigation In India: Issues & Developments
- Ministry of Agriculture: Important Updates
- State Of Indian Agriculture
Published with inputs from Arun