Guidelines for rainfed area development programme - Document prepared by Department of Agriculture and Cooperation (2011)

The document is about a proposed programme to increase agricultural productivity and livelihood security of farmers in rainfed areas.

 Rainfed areas account for nearly 57 per cent of the agricultural land in India. These areas assume special significance in terms of ecology, agricultural productivity and livelihoods for millions. With proper management, rainfed areas have the potential of contributing a larger share to food grain production. In-fact the potential is such that there is more opportunity for faster agricultural growth here than in irrigated areas.

The basic endeavour of this programme is to encourage exploitation of different farming systems based on the natural resource endowments created by the farmer or by schemes like the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MNREGA), Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana (RKVY), National Horticulture Mission (NHM). This would reduce the risk of crop losses due to weather vagaries, harness efficiency of resources, assure food and livelihood security etc.

The objective of the programme is to improve the quality of life of the farmer, especially that of the small and marginal farmer. This would be done by offering a package that would maximize farm returns by increasing agricultural productivity, minimising adverse impact of crop failure caused by drought, floods etc and restoration of confidence in this form of agriculture by creating sustained employment opportunities through improved on-farm technologies, etc.

The strategy would focus on multi-cropping, rotational cropping, inter-cropping, mixed-cropping along with allied activities that include horticulture, livestock etc. This would not only maximise farm returns but also mitigate impacts of floods, drought etc. To do this the programme will focus on -

  • Minimum tillage practice,
  • Support of existing income generating activities like fisheries, agriculture, mushroom etc. Conducting complementary activities like construction of ponds, land treatment, wells, supply of pumps etc,
  • Adoption of a cluster approach to utilize the potential of available or created common resources,
  • Support for value addition and storage structures to facilitate better returns for farm produce.

Financial resources of Rs 100,000/- will be provided to farmers in arid & semi-arid zones and Rs 80,000/- for sub-humid & humid areas. This money does not include that for construction of tanks and polyhouses.

The programme would be implemented in all rainfed areas which have large areas of cultivable land and which have potential for increasing agricultural productivity. Other areas would be -

  • The districts having less than 60% of cultivated area under irrigation and influenced by arid, semi-arid etc agro-ecosystems
  • Areas already developed under watershed development schemes,
  • Areas where water resources have been developed under MNREGA etc,
  • Areas being developed under new watershed schemes,
  • Areas where some commodities are being promoted under,
  • New areas which have potential.

This programme will be implemented within the RKVY. The state agricultural department will be the nodal agency for the implementation of the scheme. To ensure proper coordination the principal district agriculture officer/joint director may involve Agricultural Technology Management Agency (ATMA). Project proposals will need to include village development plans.

The monitoring of this programme would be via RKVY database and management information system that has been developed for RKVY projects.  There will also be periodical field visits undertaken by state and district nodal agencies.

Annexures provide the proposed norms and patterns of assistance under government schemes. The norms include areas for which assistance can be got, type of assistance, pattern of assistance etc. There is also a format for creating village development plans and monthly reporting.

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