Department of Panchayat and Rural Development

Government of Madhya Pradesh







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Madhya Pradesh, inspite of having an abundance of natural resource, remains in a state of developmental paradoxes. Despite abundant rainfall only 37% agricultural land in the State has any kind of assured irrigation. With most of the cropped area belonging to the rainfed category, the incidence of drought has become perpetual feature. Low irrigation potential and over dependence on rainfed irrigation leads to the possibility of wide and unpredictable variations in agricultural production. To compound this, the relentless exploitation of the natural resource base in the form of soil cover, vegetative cover and ground water due to increased biotic pressure causes imbalances in the fragile eco-system, rural poverty and extensive unemployment. As water crisis and problem of livelihood security for the poor are so interrelated that their solution can only be found together. Based on this philosophy Govt. of Madhya Pradesh launched the ‘Jal Abhishek Campaign, where people have taken charge of the movement and government is only present as a facilitator.

As People's stake and their inclusion in planning and management of the water conservation & harvesting activities was the key agenda massive awareness generation campaigns were organized for disseminating the information through Jal Abhishek Sammelans & meeting right from village to district level. Political leadership of MPs, MLAs & Panchayat representatives guided the campaign and almost 45000 such campaigns were organized at village level.

The campaign could not have succeeded unless it addressed the local needs and aspirations of the community. To address this agenda a participatory model of collective action was created in the village in the form of Jal Abhishek committees. This helped in creating enabling conditions for local specific need based planning and tapping the traditional wisdom and energies of the people water conservation & harvesting. Almost 50000 Jal Abhishek committees have been formed in the state which is providing a common interest platform for people’s action. To compliment the unprecedented devolution of powers to people with sound technical base Sahyog Dal has been constituted at a cluster of 10 villages. Almost 10000 Sahyog dals are currently catering to the technical needs of the community.

There are several developmental programmes operational at village covering a host of issues right from construction of roads to water conservation. These programmes function under the over all superendence of Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs), which is a democratically elected body at the village level. Plauged with the traditional mind set the PRIs mainly focus on the infrastructure development in the form of building roads & buildings and do not take the local priority needs in to consideration. As the economy of the village hinges around agriculture therefore a considerable dent in the improvement of their livelihood can only be ensured by improving land and water resources. Understanding this need the Jal abhishek Abhiyaan tried to consolidate all available financial resources and expertise of various departments to ensure focussed effort towards water conservation. The agencies responsible of sanctioning the funds under various departments were sensitised towards waters & land related issues and motivated to prioritize their spending on them. As a result of these efforts action plan worth Rs. 5000 crores have been sanctioned so far.

The general perception about water conservation & harvesting is only limited to tank and stop dam construction. But the philosophy of water conservation goes much beyond that wherein small, simple and low cost water conservation & harvesting structures can effectively address the purpose. Therefore simple Do-it-yourself water conservation & harvesting structures were promoted, which could be made by the villagers without being dependent on external financial resources. These structures also included on farm water conservation structures like farm pond, well recharge, Kundi, Kuiyan. In the construction of the structures considerable priority was given to innate wisdom of the people.

In order to cash on the previous investments made in the field of water conservation and harvesting, all such structures were identified & repaired so that they could be made reusable with minimum investment. In order to target those area and sections of the community which could not be covered under various development programmes investment through credit linkages with banks were promoted with active community contribution.

Jal Abbhishek Abhiyaan has been able to achieve its entailed objectives of improving livelihood conditions of the poor by prioritizing the agenda of water through people’s own action. The active interventions have resulted in large scale and perceptible impacts. Almost 12.25 lakh structures have been created through an investment of Rs. 2874.56 crore in which people have contributed Rs. 31.08 crore

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