Government laws and rules for land development
(1) Watershed Development Project (1989) : The Watershed approach has conventionally aimed at treating degraded lands with the help of low cost and locally accessed technologies such as in situ soil and moisture conservation measures, afforestation etc. and through a participatory approach that seeks to secure close involvement of the user communities. The brad objective was the promotion of the overall economic development and improvement of the socio-economic development and improvement of the socio-economic conditions of the resource poor sections of people inhabiting the programme areas. Many projects designed within this approach were, at different points of time, taken up by the Government of India. The Drought Prone Areas Programme (DPAP) and the Desert Development Programme (DDP) were brought into the watershed mode in 1987. The integrated Wasteland Development Programme (IWDP) launched in 1989 under the aegis of the National Wasteland Development Board also aimed at the development of wastelands on watershed basis. All these three programmes were brought under the Guidelines for Watershed Development with effect from 1.4.1995.
Other major programmes now being implemented through this approach are the National Watershed Development Project in Rainfed Areas (NWDPRA) and the Watershed Development in Shifting Cultivation Areas (WDSCA) of the Ministry of Agriculture (MoA). The objectives of Watershed Development Projects will be : (1) Developing wastelands/degraded lands, drought prone and desert areas on watershed basis, keeping in view the capability of land, site conditions and local needs. (2) Promoting the overall economic development and improving the socio-economic condition of the resource poor and disadvantaged sections inhabiting the programme areas. (3) Mitigating the adverse effects of extreme climatic conditions such as drought and desertification on crops, human and livestock population for their overall improvement. (4) Restoring ecological balance by harnessing, conserving and developing natural resources i.e. land, water, vegetative cover. Encouraging village community for : (1) Sustained community action for the operation and maintenance of assets created and further development of the potential of the natural resources in the watershed. (2) Simple, easy and affordable technological solutions and institutional arrangements that make use of and build upon, local technical knowledge and available materials. (3) Employment generation, poverty alleviation, community empowerment and develoment of human and other economic resources of the village.
- (2) Drought Prone Areas programme (1994) : The basic objective of the programme is to minimise the adverse effects of drought on production of crops and livestock and productivity of land, water and human resources ultimately leading to drought proofing of the affected areas. The programme also aims to promote overall economic development and improving the socio-economic conditions of the resource poor and disadvantaged sections inhabiting the programme areas. Upto 1994-95, DPAP was in operation in 627 blocks of 96 districts in 13 States. Prof. C.H. Hanumantha Rao Committee recommended : (1) Exclusion of 245 existing blocks; (2) Including of 384 new blocks; and Transfer of 64 blocks from DPAP to DDP. The Government did not agreed for exclusion of existing DDP blocks. However, inclusion of new blocks and transfer of blocks from DPAP to DDP was agreed to. Thus, from 1995-96 total blocks covered under DPAP became 947. These 947 blocks were in 164 districts in 13 States. Subsequently, with the re-organization of States, Districts and Blocks, the programme is now covered in 972 blocks of 183 districts in 16 States. These States are Andhra Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Orissa, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh, Uttaranchal and West Bengal. The identified dry sub humid area under the programme is about 7.46 lakh sq.kms (74.6 million has.).
- (3) Desert Development Programme (DDP) : The basic object of the programme is to minimise the adverse effect of drought and control desertification through rejuvenation of natural resource base of the identified desert areas. The programme strives to achieve ecological balance in the long run. The programme also aims at promoting overall economic development and improving the socio-economic conditions of the resource poor and disadvantaged sections inhabiting the programme areas. Upto 1994-95, Desert Development Programme was under implementation in 131 blocks of 21 districts in 5 States. The Hanumanntha Rao Committee recommended : (1) Inclusion of 32 new blocks; and (2) Transfer of 64 blocks from DPAP to DDP. Inclusion of new blocks and transfer of blocks from DPAP to DDP was agreed to. Thus, from 1995-96 total blocks covered under DDP became 227 in 40 districts of 7 States. Subsequently, with the re-organization of Districts and Blocks, the programme is now covered in 235 blocks of 40 districts in 7 States. The corresponding physical area under the programme is about 4.57 lakh sq. kms.
- (4) Technology development extension and training for wastelands development in non forest areas : The Department of Wastelands Development was set up in July 1992 and placed under the Ministry of Rural Development. The restructured National Wastelands Development Board (NWDB) was given the specific responsibility to evolve mechanisms for integrated development of non forest wastelands through systematic planning and implementation, in a cost effective manner, specially to meet the needs for the people in the rural areas in respect of fuel wood and fodder. As part of its activities in fulfillment of its mandate the NWDB sponsors research and extension of research findings to disseminate new and appropriate technologies for wastelands development.
- (5) Hariyali (2003) : To involve village communities in the implementation of watershed projects under all the area development programmes namely, integrated Wastelands Development Programme (IWDP), Drought Prone Areas Programme (DPAP) and Desert Development Programme (DDP), the Guidelines for Watershed Development were adopted w.e.f. 1.4.1995, and subsequently revised in August 2001. To further simplify procedures and involve the Panchayat Raj Institutions (PRIs) more meaningfully in planning, implementation and management of economic development activities in rural areas, these new Guidelines called Guidelines for Hariyali are being issued.
Rural Land Resources Management (LRM) Program : The
rural Land Resources Management (LRM) Program, at the World Bank, develops and promotes knowledge based technical social institutional and policy choices for our clients, which improve management of this critical resource. These choices focus on : (1) Developing sustainable land management through improved land tenure systems and community natural resources management; (2) Raising the Profile of the risk and vulnerability impacts of climate change on communities natural resources, (land/water) and promote appropriate adaptation mechanisms; (3) Mainstreaming of integrated approaches to Land and Water resources management for food security and poverty reduction (4) Creating and strengthening an enabling environment, which will enhance national, regional, and global capacities to implement the convention to combat desertification and restore degraded lands.
Sustainable Land Management (SLM) : SLM is defined as a knowledge based procedure that helps integrate land, water biodiversity, and environmental management (including input and output externalities) to meet rising food and fiber demands while sustaining ecosystem services and livelihoods. SLM is necessary to meet the requirements of a growing population. Improper land management leads to land degradation and a reduction in the productive and service (biodiversity niches, hydrology, carbon sequestration) functions of watersheds and landscapes. In layman's terms, SLM involves : (1) Preserving and enhancing the productive capabilities of land in cropped and grazed areas - that is, upland areas, down slope areas, and flat and bottom lands; sustaining productive forest areas and potentially commercial and noncommercial forest reserves; and maintaining the integrity of watersheds for water supply and hydropower generation needs and water conservation zones and the capability of aquifers to serve farm and other productive activities. (2) Actions to stop and reverse degradation - or at least to mitigate the adverse effects of earlier misuse - which is increasingly important in the uplands and watersheds, especially those where pressure from the resident populations is severe and where the destructive consequences of upland degradation are being felt in far more densely populated areas "downstream".