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Under National Watershed Development Project for Rainfed areas (NWDPRA), a comprehensive holistic approach is being adopted to treat all the spatial components of the watersheds, viz., arable land, non-arable land and drainage lines as one organic geohydrological entity. This programme is built mainly on the accumulated wisdom and skills of the watershed community.
The project aims at in-situ moisture conservation primarily through vegetative measure to conserve rain water and to control soil erosion and re-generate the green cover both on arable and non-arable lands. Thus the project is practising a combination of regenerative low cost, simple conservation measures with diversify production systems by maximising rain water conservation.
Farming systems and household produc-tion systems
The projects is promoting dryland farming systems including seasonal crops, dryland horticulture, agroforestry, pasture development, livestock management, etc. Household production including cottage industries like basket and rope making, bee keeping and other subsidiary occupations are being promoted in consonance with ecological and socioeconomic settings. This will help even the landless labourers, small and marginal farmers in supplementing their incomes.
The National Committees viz. National Watershed Development Policy Committee (NWDPC) and National Watershed Development Implementation Committee (NWDIC) constituted earlier have been combined into one i.e. National Watershed Development Policy and Implementation Committee (NWDPIC). All the participating state and union territories have also constituted State Watershed Development Policy Committees and District Coordination Committees. Multidisciplinary Watershed Development teams have been constituted for planning and implementation of the project at the Micro-watershed level.
Special problem area projects
The problem of waterlogging is occurring on an extensive scale in the Himalayan Foot Hills in the states of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal and Assam. The littoral states of Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, Kranataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal have the problems of congestion. For such areas, pilot projects are being taken up. So far 16 special problem area projects have been sanctioned.
The ultimate goal of the project, through a distant one at present, is to convert NWDPRA from a Government scheme to a people's movement. In fact, ultimately, NWDPRA should become a people's programme and Government would participate in it to provide the necessary support. People's participation in project planning, implementation and maintenance of the assets created during the project period is very important. The participating States/UTs have identified and trained Mitra Kisans and Gopals out of practising farmers, village youths, school drop-outs, etc. who are working as focal points for disseminating the vegetative conservation and other low-cost technology.
In order to promote people's participation, a tripartite Memorandum of understanding (MOU) has been evolved by Government of India, where in the best elements of Government functioning as well as Non-Government Organisation (NGO) functioning are combined effectively to bring out the best possible results, which would normally not be possible when either of them is the implementing agency.
The government system is efficient in booking, keeping accounting and technology, whereas Non-Government Organisation (NGO) system is good in inspiring people. Besides, they possess dedication and commitment for local services. The local people have cumulative wisdowm,skills and knowledge of production environment; encompassing land, water, vegetation etc. The institution involved in Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) include:
(a) The Watershed Community represented by its President or Secretary, Mitra Kirshak Mandal. The Watershed Community, consists of a group of Mitra Kisans, five from each village of the micro-watershed.
(b) NGO or voluntary agency represented by the managing trustee; and
(c) Government represented by a Class-II level officer of the development department or an officer of higher level as the case may be.
NGO's involvement in the Project is with regard to:
(a) Creation of awareness regarding farming systems approach;
(b) Training of field functionaries and beneficiaries and preparation of training material for farmers;
(c) Evaluation and monitoring of project activities and their impact from people's point of view;
(d) Promotion self-help thrift groups hamlet-wise, to manage composite nurseries and take up greening of degraded land; and
(e) Enhancing and strengthening the role of farm women particularly their leadership in decision making for watershed development.
Eco-friendly sustainable Development
Environmental degradation-ranging from soil erosion, desertification, and air pollution, to the shrinking of the layer, pollution of the world's rivers and oceans, global and deforestation - is drawing phenomenal attention of the academicians and policy makers. A good lot of research piled up on the linkages between economic activities and the environment has emphasized the need for new development models and policies that take due account of environmental concerns. National governments, international organization and voluntary institutions are actively trying to design and adopt measures to alleviate these serious problems. The Earth Summit held under the auspices of the United Nations Conference Environment and Development at Rio De Janero has thrown light on the impending environment disaster and has called for urgent action to avert it.
During the last two decades, prevailing views on the compatibility of economic development and environmental protection has changed considerably. Sound management of the environmental natural resources base has come to be seen as a prerequisite and obstacle, to sustainable economic development and a vital element in programme designed to improve the quality of human life on earth.
Sustainable development is a process in which development can be sustained for generations. It is dvelopment which affords to the future generations the same, if not more, capacity to prosper as the present generation has. This means that the posterity should have access to the same amount of resources for development as the current generation has. Thus sustainable development focuses on inter-generational fairness in the exploitation of development opportunities.
Every generation of mankind ‘creates’ as well as ‘destroys’ certain amounts of resources for its development purpose. But the nature and rate of present development are such that the rate of destruction of resources is grater than the rate of creation. If this trend continues beyond a century or so, it is apprehended that there would be not only no further development, but there might be economic stagnation or even disaster. This is what is often otherwise called ‘limits of growth’. The lesson from the experience is simple. The present generation should either drastically curtail the exploitation of non-renewable resources or re-cycle at least as much amount of resources as it uses up, so that the posterity too has equal chance to develop.
The concept of sustainable development has another dimension-environment conservation. Sustainable development is one which conserves nature and maintains ecological order biodiversity, as it is commonly referred to, thereby making life on earth possible in future as at present. The problem of sustainability of development is a part of the wider ecological problems threatening life in general on the earth today. Sustainability of development is not merely a problem of finding necessary resources for generations to come, but a problem of making human beings live in better harmony with nature than they are currently tending to.
Although the nature of the problem of sustainable development differs from one country to another, the problem has special dimensions for the poor countries. High and rapidly rising population in most poor countries make sustained development extremely difficult even if all resources were renewable but were scarce, as most of them are, in these countries. Scarcity of non-renewable resources accentuates the problem.
The environmental problems of poor countries like India are becoming acute and they deserve immediate attention in terms of planning and investment programmes. Since the depletion of resources is faster than their regeneration in these countries, it is absolutely essential to design/adapt technologies that are appropriate to both sound environment and sustained development.
Choice of an appropriate technology is essential for bringing about sustainable development. Ecological acceptability should be one of the criteria for choosing appropriate technology or technologies. For poor countries, the used technologies originating in rich countries is often justified by their apparent economies of scale as high efficiency. However, they tend to create many social, ecological and resource problems in poor countries. The rich country technologies depend heavily on the fast depleting minerals and fossil fuels and they unleash excessive consumerism thereby leading to exhaustion of critical natural resources and polluting the environment. Even the second hand industrial technologies, often purchased by the poor countries from the rich countries at ‘bargain’ prices tend to use unnecessarily large quantities of raw materials and recoverable chemicals in effluent discharges, consume excessive amount of fossil fuels and produce lot of hazardous waters leading to pollution of earth, water and air.
The principle of ecological acceptance refers to modes of production which respect ecological balance and strive to work with nature instead of attempting to force their way through natural system in the conviction that unintended damage and unforeseen side effects can always be undone by further application of onslaught on the environment. Poor societies cannot afford this onslaught and it is doubtful whether that rich societies can afford it much longer.
What, then is the sort of technology appropriate for sustainable development? It is a technology that is environment friendly. If it is to be environment friendly, it should make least assault on biodiversity, and the fast depleting fossil fuel energy, mineral and other natural resources. On the contrary, it should be such as to use the renewable capital saving and freely available local resources.
The notion of sustainable technology is different from that of ‘intermediate’ technology in that the latter is often seen as a compromise between the obsolete primitive technology of underdeveloped countries and the sophisticated modern technology of rich countries. From the point of view of environment conservation, perhaps the best sustainable techniques of production are none other than the primitive techniques which have long been abandoned by the rich countries but which still form the mainstay of the traditional sectors of the poor countries. Although the primitive techniques of production are technologically inefficient, they score over modern technologies on the environmental balance criterion. They make least assault on nature; on the contrary they are in tune with the natural order. They make use of locally available resources; they are least energy intensive. They even ‘clean up’ the environment in the sense that they often use the bio-mass waste thrown up by nature, by human beings, plants and animals either as raw materials or as energy resources in the production activities.
The primitive technologies have been sidelined on the ground that they are inefficient and non-conducive for mass production. However, with increased research and development, it should be possible to make quite a few of these techniques efficient. Since the need for conserving environment has become more important at present than ever before, it is sustainable development and not technical efficiency which should be the primary criterion for the choice of technologies for the future.
Advocates of modern technologies allege that reverting to the primitive technologies amounts to ‘technological retrogression’ which, by orthodox definition, is antithetical to ‘development’. But in the context of sustainable development, the concept of technological change needs to be redefined so that revitalization of old but environment conserving techniques and of modern techniques according to environmental demands and resource constraints become the chief components of technological change. These changes mean using wooden plough-bullocks cart combination in the place of tractors, dung and humus in the place of chemical fertilizers, handloom in the place of powerloom localising factor and product markers to elements or reduce the need for carbon emitting transport means, increasing the use of inexhaustible solar, water and wind power as well as biomass for meeting energy requirements.
While some of these changes involve shifting over to primitive technologies, others call for entirely new techniques, both of which are essential for sustainable economic development. Thus, the sustainability of economic development depends on a careful choice of technologies and judicious management of resources for productive activities to satisfy the changing human needs without, of course, degrading the environment or depleting the national resources base.
The environmental indicators of today foreshadow the economic trends of tomorrow, but economic theory and ecological principles do not easily lend themselves to integration. The rapid, continuing growth of the world economy over the last half century has occurred without a good understanding of its effects in the earth's environmental systems and resources. The collective actions of a rapidly increasing world population of the earth's systems now clearly pose a risk to society that cannot be ignored.
A much better understanding of the natural resources base and environmental systems that support the national economies is needed to allow sustainable patterns of development to be determined and adopted by the governments. To sustain economic growth development, policies, regulations, and incentives need to be established that will induce environmentally rational behaviour development, environmental and natural resource according need to come a more formal aspect of economic policy analysis. This in turn, requires a better understanding of the physical and logical linkages both within and between economic sectors, often running a much longer period than is usually considered at present.
The livestock sector plays an important role in the national economy. The cattle and poultry are considered important tools for the development for rural economy and contribute towards socio-economic upliftment of million of rural and urban masses.
The Department of Animal Husbandry, through the application of scientific and technological practices, has been engaged in the rapid development of livestock and poultry industry for increasing the production of major livestock products such as milk, egg, meat and wool. The approach and strategies of the Government policy are focused on improving the production and productivity of milch animals, other livestock and poultry to enhance the overall availability of milk, egg, meat, wool, draught power and various other byproducts, through better prices, organised marketing, strengthening farmers organisations and application of advanced scientific breeding, feeding and management practices.
The main focus is on the following thrust areas:
- In the field of battle and buffalo development, efforts were concentrated on biological aspects of livestock production like embryo transfer technology and artificial insemination using chilled/frozen semen, for production and procurement of high quality breeding bulls, for wider dissemination to states for infusion of higher production potential in cattle and buffalo.
- In the field of poultry development, emphasis was laid on the development of high yield layers and fast growing broillers and promotion of private entrepreneurship by providing the requisite inputs to the producers including credit, training, processing and marketing facilities for ensuring remunerative prices to the producers.
- Livestock feeding practices in the country are primarily based on crop residues and natural herbage. Due attention was therefore paid on enhancement of feed and fodder production, pasture development and conservation and preservation of fodder through establishment of Fodder Banks.
- The export potential of the meat and meat products is not fully realised because of unhygienic conditions of the slaughter houses and prevalence of infectious animal diseases. Efforts were, therefore, made to modernise the existing slaughter houses and to develop export orient slaughter houses.
- Special emphasis was laid on provision of better health care to the livestock by increasing diagnostic services and development of biotechnical tools. Strategies like “Operation Rindepest Zero” and mass vaccination in endemic areas were incorporated in the ongoing Rinderpest Scheme.
- Efforts were made to remove inter-sectoral imbalance by laying more emphasis on areas of relatively lower growth in dairy sector through special programmes like Integrated Dairy Development Project in Non-Operation Flood, Hilly and Backward Areas.
- Due emphasis was laid on integration of the resources and energies of the various agencies engaged in the development of dairy sector by better coordination of efforts. Priority was assigned to manpower development which is essential input for the rapid dvelopment of the sector.
- Stress was laid on computerisation for effective monitoring of programmes and assessing their impact.