Watershed development programmes in India and institutional imperatives

India is endowed with annual average rainfall of nearly 1,200 mm but a very small proportion of it is managed effectively. The various estimates on potential for rainwater harvesting suggest vast opportunities for mitigating the shortages. However, the socio-administrative measures in vogue do not encourage participation by the beneficiaries. There are several success stories in rainwater harvesting but these initiatives are rarely institutionalised at national level. There is need to incorporate the characteristics of such organisations into the already existing decentralised institutions, by restructuring them. A local broad based organisation, having more legal and administrative powers and explicit focus on procedures and functioning, can go a long way to effectively implementing the watershed development programmes.

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