Complete information on Drought-Prone Areas Programme

The Drought-Prone Areas Programme (DPAP) was started in 1973. The programme aims at opti­mum utilization of land, water and livestock re­sources, restoration of ecological balance and stabi­lizing the income of the people particularly the weaker section of the society. Some of the important elements of the programme are: (i) Development and management of water resources,

(ii) Soil and moisture conservation measures, (iii) A forestation with special emphasis on social and farm forestry, (iv) Development of pasture lands and range man­agement in conjunction with development of sheep husbandry, (v) Live-stock development and dairy development, (vi)Restructuring of cropping pattern and changes in agronomic practices, and (vii) Devel­opment of subsidiary occupations.

The programme is now under implementa­tion in 947 blocks of 155 districts in 13 states. The I. total area covered under the programme is about 746 lakh sq. km. The funds for the programme are shared by the Centre and the concerned state on 50:50 bases. Total outlay for the programme during Eighth Five Year Plan was Rs. 1,000 crore, out of which Rs. 500 crore was the Central share. Total expenditure since inception in 1973-74 till March 1995 was Rs. 1,742 crore.

The programme is being implemented on watershed project basis since 1995-96 as per new guidelines for Watershed Development. The local people are being involved in the planning and devel­opment of watershed project. Funds equal to 75 per cent of the sanctioned cost of the watershed is released to the Watershed Committee and utilized by it.

The number of watershed projects targeted for development during the period of four years (from 1995-96 to 1998-99) was 4,995. The Central share of allocation for DPAP during 1996-97 and 1997-98 are Rs. 125 and Rs. 115 crore respectively.

The Drought-Prone Areas Programme has the major objective to minimize the effects of drought through an integrated development of the area by the adoption of appropriate technologies. Its main em­phasis is on irrigation projects, land development programmes, afforestation, grass-land development, rural electrification and other programmes for infrastructural development relating to roads, mar­kets, credit, servicing and processing etc.

Each state has evolved its own organizational set-up for the drought-prone area programme. Maharashtra is im­plementing the programme through the District Plan­ning Board. The Karnataka Government has estab­lished an authority for the districts by a resolution of the State Government with Divisional Commis­sioner as the Chairman. Tamil Nadu has set up a District Development Corporation for one of the two districts under this programme.

The Desert Development Programme aims at checking further desertification of the desert areas and raising productivity of the local resources to raise the income and employment levels of the local inhabitants. The programme is being implemented both in the hot and cold arid zones of the country.

The programme puts emphasis on arresting desertification through activities which restore eco­logical balance, stabilise sand dunes and facilitate soil and water conservation. Plantation of shelter belts, adoption of water harvesting techniques and development of pastures to sustain the livestock economy are some of the strategies followed under the programme. It is proposed to encourage innova­tive use of land for fodder crops, pastures and fuel and fodder plantations.

This diversification can sub­stantially improve the economy of the desert areas in keeping with the ecological requirements of the area. In the cold arid zones of Ladakh and Spiti, irrigated agriculture and improved animal husbandry practices would be among the activities to be en­couraged.

The Desert Development Progamme (DDP) was started in the year 1977-78. It extends over 227 development blocks of 36 districts with a total area of 4, 57,432 sq. km in seven states. These states are Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Karnataka and Rajasthan. Under the programme a number of projects have been targeted and sanctioned for implementation in iden­tified areas.

All these projects are envisaged to be completed in a four-year period. At present there are 1,747 Watershed Projects under different stages of implementation in seven programme states. Pres­ently the programme is 100 per cent centrally-spon­sored (75:25 bases in hot arid areas between centre and the state). The funds are provided to DRDAAs/ ZPs for planning and development of watershed projects. Eighty per cent of the total fund is trans­ferred to the bank account of Watershed Committee/ Gram Panchayats which implement the programme.

During the Ninth Five Year Plan a sum of Rs. 1,430 crore was allocated for the programme (Rs. 70 crore in 1997-98). As core sector activities, 1.85 lakh hectares under land resource development, 0.83 lakh hectares under water resource development and 2.85 lakh hectares under a forestation and pasture development have been developed till 1994-95 since inception of the programme.