The Command Area Development Programme is an integrated area development approach towards the command areas of major and medium irrigation projects in the country. The programme is aimed at bridging the gap between created irrigation potential and its utilization in the command area.
The programme was launched as a Centrally-sponsored scheme in 1974-75 with the main objectives of improving utilization of irrigation potential and optimizing agricultural productivity and production from the irrigated areas by integrating all functions related with irrigated agriculture. The CAD programme was initially introduced in the Indira Gandhi Canal Command Area in 1974. During the Fifth Plan (1974-78) 38 command area development authorities covering 50 irrigation projects were set up.
These were spread in 108 districts in 13 states and covered about 12.4 million ha of ultimate irrigation potential. By the end of March 1980, the total number of projects taken up for command area development increased to 76 which covered an ultimate irrigation potential of 15.3 million ha. In 16 states and I union territory.
The number of CAD Authorities increased to 143 by the end of March, 1980. Up to March 1998 the total number of projects taken up for command area development increased to 217 with cultivable command area (CCA) of 21.78 million hectares and spreading over 23 states and 2 union territories.
The Programme involves execution of on- farm development works like construction of Field channels and Fields drains, land leveling and shaping and conjunctive use of surface and ground-water. Warabandi or the rotational system of water distribution is undertaken with a view to ensuring equitable and timely supply of water to the farmers.
Adaptive trials, demonstrations and training of farmers are encouraged to disseminate technical know-how among the farmers for establishing suitable cropping patterns and improved farming practices and for maintaining soil health. Preparation of plan of input supply for credit, seeds, fertilizers, pesticides etc; up-dating of land records; construction of roads; promoting ancillary activities like marketing, processing facilities, animal husbandry, farm forestry etc are other features of command area development.
Attention is also given to diversiFication of crore pattern so that water is put to optimum use and productivity of land increased. During such diversion Frication emphasis would be given to the production of oil seeds, pulses etc to eliminate as far as possible their shortage.
Under the CAD programme, the Ministry of Water Resources is also introducing and promoting participatory irrigation management in the CAD Projects by creating awareness and providing Fincancial assistance to farmers’ associations. Reclamation of waterlogged areas in irrigated commands is also an important component of the Programme.