Land is a critically important national resource. Its efficient management is vital for economic growth and development of rural areas. The per capita availability of land and its yield is very low in India.
This is one of the main factors behind low productivity and high cost of Indian agriculture. Ministry of Rural Development has hence taken up various initiatives to make the optimum utilization of land and improve its quality. Concerted efforts are being made through Area Development Programmes of Department of Land Resources to regenerate and rejuvenate wastelands and degraded lands.
The Department of Land Resources of MoRD is implementing three long-term Watershed Development Programmes i.e. Integrated Wasteland Development Programme (IWDP), Drought Prone Areas Programme (DPAP) and Desert Development Programme (DDP) on watershed basis.
Each project under the programme is a micro level effort to achieve this objective through treating the underproductive and hitherto unproductive land and taking up allied activities for the benefit of landless. The programmes adopt a common strategy of multi-resource management involving all stakeholders within the watershed, who together as a group, co-operatively identify the resource issues and concerns of the watershed as well as develop and implement a watershed plan with solutions that are environmentally, socially and economically sustainable. Watershed development programme is considered and adopted as an effective tool to address problems of rain-fed areas in the country.
The 11th Plan has stressed upon developing concerted action plans for rainfed areas in close consultation with the State Governments. Accordingly, the Common Guidelines for Watershed Development, 2008 have been issued and made effective from 1.4.2008. The three watershed programmes of the Department of Land Resources namely DPAP, DDP and IWDP have been consolidated as a comprehensive programme named ‘Integrated Watershed Management Programme (WMP).