India: Ministry Implements Watershed Development Programmes
With a view to conserve top soil and prevent soil erosion and land degradation, the Ministry of Agriculture is implementing various watershed development programmes, namely National Watershed Development Project for Rainfed Areas, Soil Conservation in Catchments of River Valley Project and Flood Prone River and Reclamation and Development of Alkali & Acid Soils across the country.
Ministry of Rural Development is also implementing a major Integrated Watershed Management Programme for restoring ecological balance by harnessing, conserving and developing degraded lands in the country. Parts of such developed degraded lands have been put to cultivation, leading to net sown area remaining largely unchanged in last two decades.
As per available estimates of Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR-2010), out of total geographical area of 328.73 million hectare, about 120.40 million hectare are affected by various kind of land degradation across the country. Soil formation and its erosion are a natural phenomena occurring simultaneously. Such soil erosion leads to land degradation in upper reaches of the river system, whereas when deposited at various locations of river systems, it may increase the soil fertility.
This information was given in Rajya Sabha recently by Minister of State for Agriculture and Food Processing Industries, Shri Tariq Anwar in a written reply.
Press Release, February 27, 2013