Drought Prone Areas
(DPAP) is the earliest area development programme launched by
the Central Government in 1973-74 to tackle the special
problems faced by those fragile areas, which are constantly
affected by severe drought conditions.These areas are
characterized by large human and cattle populations which are
continuously putting heavy pressure on the already degraded
natural resources for food, fodder and fuel. The major
problems are continuous depletion of vegetative cover,
increase in soil erosion and fall in ground water levels due
to continuous exploitation without any effort to recharge the
Though the programme had a positive impact in terms of
creating durable public assets, its overall impact in
effectively containing the adverse effects of drought was not
found to be very encouraging. In addition, many of the States
had also been demanding inclusion of additional areas under
the programme. With a view to identifying the infirmities in
the programme and also for considering the case for inclusion
of additional areas under the programme, a High Level
Technical Committee under the chairmanship of Prof. C.H.
Hanumantha Rao, Ex-Member Planning Commission was constituted
in April 1993 to critically review the contents, methodology
and implementation processes of all area development
programmes and suggest suitable measures for improvement.
Committee in its Report submitted in April 1994 had attributed
the unsatisfactory performance of the programmes to the
following major factors:
Implementation of programme activities over vast
areas in a sectoral and dispersed manner
Inadequate allocations to the programme and
programme expenditures thinly spread over large problem areas.
Programme implemented through government
agencies with least or no participation of the local people.
Taking up of a vast array of activities, which
were neither properly integrated nor necessarily related to
the objectives of the programme.
Water Conservation under Drought Prone Area
Based on the recommendations of the Hanumantha Rao Committee,
Guidelines for Watershed Development, commonly applicable to
Drought Prone Areas Programme, Desert Development Programme
and Integrated Wastelands Development Programme were issued in
October 1994 and were made applicable with effect from
1.4.1995. Subsequently, based on the feedback received from
States, Project Implementation Agencies and others concerned,
the Guidelines were revised in September 2001.
The basic objective of the programme is to minimize the
adverse effects of drought on the production of crops and
livestock and productivity of land, water and human resources
thereby ultimately leading to the drought proofing of the
affected areas. The programme aims at promoting overall
economic development and improving the socio-economic
condition of the resource poor and disadvantaged sections
inhabiting the programme areas through creation, widening and
equitable distribution of the resource base and increased
employment opportunities. The objectives of the programme are
being addressed in general by taking up development works
through watershed approach for land development, water
resource development and afforestation/pasture development.
The recent impact studies sponsored by the Ministry have
revealed that with the implementation of watershed projects
under Drought Prone Areas Programme, the overall productivity
of land and the water table have increased and there has been
a significant impact in checking soil erosion by water and
wind. The programme has also helped in overall economic
development in the project areas.
The common Guidelines for Watershed Development provide for a
uniform strategy in the implementation of all area development
programmes. The main features of this strategy are:
Area development programmes to be implemented
exclusively on watershed basis.
Programme activities to be confined to the identified
watershed of about 500 hectares and to be executed on a
project basis spanning a period of four to five years.
Watershed project to be, as far as possible,
co-terminus with village boundary.
Direct participation of the people in planning and
development of watershed areas and maintenance of assets in
the post project period.
Panchayati Raj Institutions have the right to monitor
and review the programme at district, block and village
levels. They can also function as Project Implementation
Agencies if they so desire.
Voluntary agencies to be given effective role in the
implementation of the programme particularly in motivating
people, community organisation and training.