The Union Budget for 1999-2000 announced the creation of Watershed Development Fund in NABARD. In pursuance thereof, the Board of Directors of NABARD approved the proposal of creation of WDF with a Rs.100 Crores contribution from NABARD and a matching upfront contribution of Rs.100 Crores from the Government of India raising the size of the fund to Rs.200 Crores.
The objective of the Fund is to spread the message of participatory watershed development and to replicate and consolidate the isolated successful initiatives under different programmes in the government, semi-government and NGO sectors. Watershed community, Central and State Government departments, banks, agricultural research institutions, NGOs and NABARD will act in concert to make a breakthrough in participatory watershed development.
. Two-thirds of the fund (Rs.133 Crores) will be used for providing loans to the identified State Governments for Watershed Development and one-third (Rs.67 Crores) would be used for grant-based activities covering promotional efforts, capacity building, replication of the Indo-German Watershed model being implemented in Maharastra and self-help group related activities particularly targeted at women in the project area.
· The rate of interest of the loan would be 9.5% per annum and the interest would be payable at quarterly intervals. The repayment period of loan will be 9 years including grace period of 3 years.
· One hundred districts from fourteen states will be covered under WDF within a span of 3 years. The States which will be targeted are - Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Maharastra, Orissa, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Karnataka, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal.
The districts for launching the projects will be selected in consultation with the concerned State Government. For selecting districts, preference is given where the percentage of irrigated area is less than 30%, where there is a concentration of SC/ST population and where the extent of rainfed farming and potential for watershed development is large. Priority will be given to the districts having the lowest proportion of irrigated area in the State, subject to the availability of basic ingredients needed for successful implementation of watershed development projects.
The NGOs/PFA will be identified based on their past track record and experience in implementing participatory watershed development projects (Criteria for selection of NGOs). These agencies will then select Watersheds based on criteria like interest of the village/watershed community to implement a participatory watershed project, necessity for such an intervention etc. (Criteria for selection of Watersheds). The State Steering Committee which oversees the programme at the State level, ratifies the Districts, NGOs and the Watersheds identified.
MOU for 10 Crores loan from NABARD has already been signed on 13th Nov. 2000 between Government of Karnataka by Principal Secretary to Govt., Agriculture and Horticulture Dept. and NABARD by Chief General Manager. Subsequently, the Government has cleared list of 10 districts in Karnataka for implementation of WDF. Further, list of 7 districts is submitted to the Principal Secretary to Govt., Agriculture & Horticulture Dept., for approval. Meantime, the District Watershed Development Officers have been instructed to delineate sub-watersheds ranging from 500 hects. to 1000 hects. in each of the taluka in all the 10 districts. Further, delineation of micro--watersheds to the extent of 250 hect. in each of the sub-watershed for capacity building programme before Jan. 2001 is under progress. We are hopeful of completing the capacity building phase before March, 2001. Two meetings were held under the Chairmanship of Addl. Chief Secretary and Development Commissioner for review of status of WDF. Further, 12 officers from different districts were deputed for basic exposure about the project at Ahmednagar in Maharastra. NABARD has increased number of districts from 10 to 17. Accordingly, Government of Karnataka has agreed to implement the project in 17 districts and the implementation is under various stages. Guidelines for implementation of WDF both for Department Officers and NGOs has been finalised.