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Nabard takes up initiatives to speed up watershed projects

Anjana Chandramouly | Updated on March 12, 2018

BL01_FEATKAR_WATERSHED

Nabard promotes holistic and sustainable watershed development by way of people participation in dry areas, said the official.



To speed up implementation and ensure monitoring of watershed projects in the six distress districts of Karnataka, the State regional office of the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development has established an exclusive project unit at Hassan. The six distress districts are Belgaum, Chikmagalur, Chitradurga, Hassan, Kodagu and Shimoga.

It has also sanctioned over Rs 85 crore for participatory watershed development in these districts, of which over Rs 44 crore has been released already, a senior official of Nabard told Business Line.

Nodal agency

Nabard is the nodal agency for implementation and monitoring of the Prime Minister's package for distressed districts in the State through cooperatives and regional rural banks. The Rs 2,689.64-crore package is under implementation in these districts. All the banks in these districts have implemented the package benefiting over 2.86 lakh farmer accounts.

Through the Watershed Development Fund, Nabard promotes holistic and sustainable watershed development by way of people participation in dry areas, said the official. As on March 31, the Karnataka regional office of Nabard sanctioned Rs 142.09 crore for 231 watershed development projects designed to cover over 2.8 lakh ha spread over 28 of the 30 districts in the State, including 1.84 lakh ha in the six distress districts under the PM's package.

According to him, about 25 projects have been completed so far and others are in different stages of execution. Four of these intensively focus on livelihood-based interventions for 2,000 resource-poor families in a cluster of villages with an assistance of Rs 4.8 crore for each project. Besides, a pilot project on up-scaling of focused dry land technology is in progress in three watersheds in Bijapur district with a grant assistance of Rs 17.37 lakh.

Another project with MGNREGS convergence in Lingasgur taluk in Raichur district has also been sanctioned. Nabard's Karnataka RO has also sanctioned a project on a cost-sharing mode with Hindustan Unilever Vitality Foundation, promoted by Hindustan Unilever Ltd, for 8,500 ha spread over five districts under a public-private partnership model.

The RO also sanctioned a soft loan of Rs 10 lakh to an NGO for implementing a pilot project on watershed plus activities towards on-lending to self-help groups and their members in Gudugur watershed (in the Ranebennur taluk of Haveri district) for taking up income-generating activities.

It has already released Rs 8 lakh.

As on March 31, Nabard released assistance of Rs 79.21 crore under watershed development fund, including a loan of Rs 17.9 crore to the State Government. This included disbursement of Rs 30.62 crore during fiscal 2010-11.

Credit flow

In order to accelerate institutional credit flow, the Karnataka RO has been taking up initiatives such as conduct of watershed exposure-cum-sensitisation programmes for bankers, increasing focus on livelihood support, improvement in agri-productivity, adoption of low-cost technology, facilitating information flow at watershed level on weather and major crops, etc, the Nabard official pointed out.

With natural resource management measures in place and the community sensitised, he explained that the watershed projects in the State hold good potential for market-oriented farming, micro-finance/credit off-take and further line of development activities.

Published on November 30, 2011

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