by Kalpana Palkhiwala, Dy Director (M & C), PIB, New Delhi.*
About 25% of the country’s geographical area is affected by desertification. The Space Application Centre in 2007 brought out the Desertification and Land Degradation Atlas which shows 81.45 million hectare land in the country has turned into arid, semi-arid or dry sub humid region. Desertification results in decline in water table and availability of water, reduced agricultural productivity, loss of bio-diversity in the affected regions. All these affect the lives and livelihoods of the populations, often eventually precipitating forced migration and socio-economic conflicts.
Desertification is caused by a number of factors including climatic variations and human activities. Some of the human activities that can cause desertification are expansion of agriculture- over cultivation of soils, or exposure to erosion by wind or water; reduction in the fallow period of soil, and lack of organic or mineral fertilizers; overgrazing – often selectively – of shrubs, herbs and grasses; overexploitation of forest resources; deforestation; uncontrolled use of fire for regenerating pasture, for hunting, agricultural clearing, or for settling; and poor irrigation practices-irrigation of soils prone to salinisation, alkalinisation or even water logging.
India has always recognised the need for a concerted multi-sectoral strategy for arresting and reversing desertification in view of the cross cutting dimensions of drivers of desertification. The concern for arresting and reversing land degradation and desertification gets reflected in many of our national policies which have enabling provisions for addressing this problem. It is also implicit in the goals of sustainable forest management (SFM), sustainable agriculture, sustainable land management (SLM) and the overarching goal of sustainable development which the country has been pursuing.
Policy and legislative frameworks that contribute to combating desertification in India are National Water Policy, 1987; National Forest Policy, 1988; National Agricultural Policy, 2000; Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980; Environment (Protection) Act, 1986; National Environmental Policy, 2006; National Policy for Farmers, 2007; and National Rain fed Area Authority (NRAA)- 2007 .
Programmes Controlling Desertification
India has always maintained that desertification is a function of the interplay of a number of causative factors and thus only a multi-sectoral approach alone will be able to arrest and reverse the process of desertification. Some major schemes/ programmes that have contributed to desertification control are Drought Prone Areas Programme (DPAP), 1973-74; Watershed Development Project in Shifting Cultivation Areas (WDPSCA), 1974-75; Desert Development Programme (DDP), 1977-78; Reclamation & Development of Alkali Soil (RAS), 1985-86; Watershed Development Fund (WDF), Integrated Wasteland Development Programme (IWDP), 1989; National Watershed Development Project for Rain fed Areas (NWDPRA) – 1990-91 and Soil Conservation in the Catchment of River Valley Projects (RVP) 1992. National Afforestation Programme (NAP) 2002-03 is also one of the major programmes in which Association of Scheduled Tribes and Rural Poor in Regeneration of Degraded Forests (ASTRP), launched in 1992-93 and Integrated Afforestation and Eco-Development Projects Scheme (LAEPS) 1989-90 were merged into the National Afforestation Programme.
The year mentioned against the name of the schemes above designates the year of inception. The three schemes of Desert Development Programme, Drought Prone Area Programme and Integrated Wasteland Development Programme have been consolidated into a single programme of Integrated Watershed Management Programme (IWMP) with effect from 01.04.2008.
Recent initiatives include sustainable Land and Ecosystem Management (SLEM Programmatic Approach) 2007; Common Guidelines for Watershed Development Programme- 2008; Integrated Watershed Management Programme (IWMP) and Guidelines for Convergence between NREGA and NAP 2009.
The basic object of the programme is to minimise the adverse effect of drought and control desertification through rejuvenation of natural resource base of the identified desert areas, achieve ecological balance and overall economic development in the programme areas. The programme has covered in 235 blocks of 40 districts in 7 States. The corresponding physical area under the programme is about 4.57 lakh sq. kms. (PIB Features)
The Hindu - Opinion
TAGS for articles
AGRICULTURE Andamans ANDHRA PRADESH Articles in Yojana Magazine BANKING Bio-Diversity Biodiversity CAG 150 Years CAMELS Rating System CENSUS : Important Definitions Census 2011 Census Data 2001 India at a glance Census of India 2011 Champaran Satyagraha's 100 years Children in India 2012 Climate Change Co-operative sector Communication CONSTITUTION Consumer Affairs COP 18 CRPF 75 YEARS Culture Cyclone Defence Desertification Disabled Get Social Justice Doha Climate Change Conference 2012 Outcomes E-Waste Management Eco Mark Economy Education in India eGovernance ELECTRONICS National Policy 2012 Emissions Trading Energy Engineers are Nation Builders Environment FDI FDI in Multi Brand Retail Finance Food Security FOOD SECURITY ACT 2013 Forest Gandhi Gas Authority of India Ltd General Elections 2014 Geography Global knowledge hub Goa Good Governance GOVERNANCE AND PUBLIC SERVICE Governance and Public Service Govt. Schemes Green Bench Handicrafts Haryana Judiciary Health History Home Ministry details and imp websites Horticulture Human Development Rank IARI PUSA IFoS Interview India Post India Year Book 2010 Indira Gandhi Indo Pak Relations Indo USA Indo- Nepal Relations 2014 Industrial Disputes Industry Inflation Infrastructure INTERNAL SECURITY International Relations Internet Interview Preparation Irrigation ISRO : FAQs Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission Judge Guide JUDICIAL ACTIVISM JUDICIARY Judiciary : Articles on very important topics Kashmir Khadi Language Large Hadron Collider Law LOKAYUKTA ROLE Lokpal and Lokayuktas Bill 2011 Mangroves mate Change Media Mercury MGNREGA: Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act Monetary Policy MSME National Forest Policy (NFP) 1988 National Green Tribunal National Issues National Pension System Nature Naxalism Naxalism : Internal Security Problem in India Naxalism (HINDI) Naxalism LWE Maoism: Problems and solutions Nilgiri North East NRHM- Key Achievements NSS: National Service Scheme Nuclear Science and Nuclear Reactor Nutrition Odiya Film Making 75 Years OUR PARLIAMENT Panchati Raj Parliament of India Peace Process in North East Personality Test Planning Planning Commission of India PM Narendra Modi Speech on 15 Aug 2014 Lal kila Delhi Pollution Population Poverty President election 2017 President's lecture Project Arrow Project Elephant Public Administration Public Administration - Articles/Reports/Papers PURA Qualities of Judge (Judicial Officer) Rabindranath Tagore Railways Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana RBI : Journey into History of Bank of the Bankers Remote Sensing Renewable Energy RTI in brief Rural India SAFAR SARFAESI ACT Science and Technology Sevottam Simla Agreement Social Issues Society Socio Economic and Religious Differentials states Sunderbans Sustainable Development Tamil Tamilnadu Technological Developments Total Sanitation Campaign Tourism Tribes Tripura UPSC Urban Flooding Urban Issues Values Water Issues Water woes Welfare Wildlife Protection and Conservation Women's Issues Zoology