Background of Neeranchal
The Department of Land Resources, Government of India has initiated the implementation of the World Bank supported Neeranchal National Watershed Management Project. Neeranchal is expected to positively influence the outcomes of the ongoing Watershed Development Component of Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana (WDC-PMKSY), through technical and financial support for better delivery and impacts through improved planning approaches, capacity building, coordination and convergence, and supportive research and development. The WDC-PMKSY follows directly along the lines of the erstwhile Integrated Watershed Management Programme (IWMP) implemented across 28 Indian States. The main objectives of the WDC-PMKSY are to restore the ecological balance by harnessing, conserving and developing degraded natural resources such as soil, vegetative cover and water. The outcomes are prevention of soil run-off, regeneration of natural vegetation, rain water harvesting and recharging of the ground water table. This enables multi-cropping and the introduction of diverse agro-based activities, which help to provide sustainable livelihoods to the people residing in the watershed area.
Neeranchal is being implemented in 9 Indian States where significant investments in the WDC-PMKSY are being made.
The objective of Neeranchal is to support primarily the Watershed Component (erstwhile IWMP)of the PMKSY through technical assistance to improve incremental conservation outcomes for the natural resources including water, soil and forests, while enhancing agricultural yields in a sustainable manner for farming communities in the project states. Neeranchal also supports institutional strengthening for improved service delivery through capacity building of implementing organisations, adoption of effective project management practices including processes and technologies at the National, State and District levels.
Neeranchal will assist in scientific hydrological assessment and planning of watershed projects. This initiative will support PMKSY’s objective through identification of water surplus and deficient areas, catchment prioritization, improved identification of water harvesting potential, planning for optimal water availability and use in rainfed areas and application of innovative tools for community water budgeting and management. Traditional water harvesting structures would be given special focus under Neeranchal.
Neeranchal aims to strengthen such capabilities to bring about improvement in the quality of the District Irrigation Plans. The DPR preparation, which Neeranchal will support through use of hydrological and remote sensing tools and technologies, will indicate the optimal treatments and structures for soil and water conservation in rainfed areas. These DPRs will be an integral part of the District Irrigation Plans (DIPs) under PMKSY.