Drought Proofing India: Key Learnings from Bundelkhand Drought Mitigation Package
Bundelkhand Drought Mitigation Package was implemented by erstwhile Planning Commission and now NITI Aayog in the 13 drought-prone districts of Bundelkhand region of Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh for reducing the adverse impacts of drought to the communities in the region. Bundelkhand package evolved with the consultation workshops held with the local stakeholders organised at village panchayat and district level. These workshops identified the key needs and shortlisted the key areas of interventions as expressed by the stakeholders. An Inter-Ministerial Team (IMT) constituted for the purpose, mentioned that analysis of the various data sets reveals occurrence of severe meteorological, hydrological and agricultural droughts which have built up cumulatively over the past four years. IMT recommended Participatory integrated watershed management for in-situ conservation of the rainwater, recharging of dug wells, renovation and repairs of Bundela, Chandela and Peshwa tanks existing in the region, and digging of farm ponds and open wells.
Based on the comprehensive report and recommendations from IMT, Bundelkhand Drought Mitigation Package was approved on 19th November 2009 with a total outlay of Rs. 7,266 crore. Another Rs. 200 crore (Rs. 100 crore each for UP and MP) was provided subsequently for drinking water projects making the package to Rs. 7466 crore. Initially, the package was approved for XI Plan. The package envisaged convergence with ongoing Central Schemes/Centrally Sponsored Schemes of various Ministries/Departments to supplement part of the cost of the package while Rs.3648.96 crore was provided as Additional Central Assistance (ACA). However, due to issues in convergence of schemes especially with MGNREGA, the States requested full package as ACA. The Government approved the continuation of the Package during the 12th Plan period (2012-2017) under the Backward Regions Grant Fund (BRGF) with a financial outlay of Rs. 4,400 crore.
The package included interventions on the following fronts: Water Positive Investments (WPI), Livelihood Support Activities, and Agri-Marketing Infrastructure. Read more about each of these aspects and the recommendations which shall be incorporated during the implementation of Drought Management Plan and District Agriculture Contingency Plans along with the experiences gained during the implementation of Bundelkhand package by different government agencies.