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INTEGRATED WASTELANDS DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMME (IWDP)

Further, the Government of India have launched the Integrated Wastelands Development Programme (IWDP) in 1989, throughout the country to improve the productivity of these lands and there by improve the living standards of the rural poor who own these lands. The IWDP is a 100 percent centrally sponsored scheme. The development of wastelands is taken up on watershed basis. Watershed is a geographical until where rain falling in the area drains through a common point.

i. To arrest rainwater run off and conserve it in situ where it falls.

ii. Control of soil erosion which is usually caused by rainwater run off.

iii. Water and soil conservation also leads to improved green cover in the project areas leading to improved productivity of land.

iv. Wastelands are sought to be developed in an integrated manner based on village micro wasteland plans.

v. These plans are prepared after taking into consideration the land capability and site conditions and in consultation with the local people in regard to their needs.

vi. The Watershed projects are executed by the local people using low cost technologies locally available.

We are aware that the natural resources like the forests and agricultural lands have gradually been devastated and degraded to gradually been devastated and degraded to a great extent which is responsible for the cause of a number of problems. Vast areas have been depleted of the fertile top soil due to the siltation and salinization mainly attributed to floods. Crops yield have been much reduced. Besides we have come across the various effects caused due to the fast removal of the vegetational cover and massive deforestation in all almost regions of the world. The consequences are well known to all of us. Besides depletion in forest production, a number of ecological changes such as reduction in the quantity of water in the Groundwater (Aquifer) as well as drastic changes in the environmental quality and climate are concomitant. The reason which is quite obvious of the reduction in the production of the crops and tress is the degradation and destruction of the soils. The erosion and depletion of the fertile top layer of the soil are caused by a number of factors such as unscientific agricultural practices, construction of large dams, massive deforestation and number of man's activities concerned with over cultivation, urbanization and industrialization etc. All these activities denude the land of its protective green cover, hastening the process of soil erosion, degradation water logging and salinity. This affects both the cultivated and uncultivated lands. When these problems are not checked in time by taking proper remedial measures, there is every likelihood that the soil might lost its fertility forever turning the same into a barren and desert.

Desertification has been progressing in many states of India, which reduces the crops, and tree yields to a great extent. Generally such lands, which do not give economic, return or in the other word, which is useless, are termed as 'wasteland'. Such lands are ecologically degraded and unstable as the topmost fertile layer of the soil (rich in organic matter and humus) has nearly or completely lost.

In India, the National Land Use and Wasteland Development Council (NLWDC) and the national Wasteland Development Board (NWDB) which are under the Ministry of Environment and Forests respectively have undertaken the tasks of preparing programs for conserving and protecting the lands from turning into wastelands.

A Technical Task Group was formed by the planning Commission and NWDB. This group has defined the wasteland as 'the land which is degraded and is presently lying unutilized except as current fallows due to different constraints' (CSIR 1990). Depending upon the casual factors, the wastelands may be grouped under (i) Water erosion, (ii) Wind erosion and (iii) Salinity and Alkalinity. The wastelands comprise of three groups of land of viz. (i) cultivated land affected by soil erosion, (ii) degraded forest land (iii) degraded land with special.

Problems or problem soils. Depending upon the extent of degradation, the wastelands have been categorized by NWDB into (i) Cultural wastelands which are not being used currently due to different constraints but have the potential for the development of vegetative cover after appropriate treatments and (ii) Unculturable wastelands which are not being used currently and cannot be developed for vegetative cover under any circumstances. The culturable wastelands comprise many land areas such as gullied and ravinous lands, water logged lands and marches, salt affected lands. Areas under shifting cultivation ((humming cultivation), degraded forest lands, degraded pasture and grazing lands, degraded non forest plantation land, striplands, sandy areas, mining/ industrial wastelands. The uncultural wastelands include barren rocky/ stony waste areas, steep sloping areas and snow covered areas.

 
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