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Small watershed schemes key to rural prosperity-Birender Singh

The Minister for Rural Development Shri Birender Singh has called for small watershed schemes across the country to promote a variety of economic activities including agriculture. Delivering a keynote address here at a function titled Abhinav, the Minister said, effective implementation of the watershed schemes has the big potential to fight poverty and reduce the imbalances between the poor and the rich. He said, Centre and States should join hands to promote water conservation programmes in an honest fashion and address the credibility crisis, if any. Shri Singh stressed on development of rainfed areas which is the prime concern of the present Government and suggested for increased investments and use of advanced technologies like Remote Sensing and Geographical Information Systems in watershed management. He urged to enhance community participation at every stage of project implementation and maintenance of assets created. The Minister emphasized on de-silting of water harvesting structures as preparations in advance for Monsoon 2015 in line with the Prime Ministers vision of Har Khet ko Pani.

Speaking on the occasion, Minister of State for Rural Development Shri Sudarshan Bhagat said, extensive community participation particularly of Women and weaker sections should become an integral part of the water conservation schemes. Apart from maintenance of traditional water bodies, he also laid stress on storage of water in mining pits for irrigation and drinking purposes. The Minister emphasized on convergence of programmes of other Ministries/ Departments with Integrated Watershed Management Programme for obtaining maximum impact for the communities.

Secretary, Department of Land Resources , Smt Vandana Kumari Jena said as the programme is outcome oriented, the Ministry will monitor the schemes thoroughly with the help of the people through mobile application called Drishti, which was launched by the Minister. She said that setting benchmarks for watershed outcomes will encourage the States for better performance.

During the function, jingle, Logo, Name and Tagline of IWMP were launched for wider publicity. The selected unique name for the IWMP now is Jal Sadhana and the tagline is Conserve water, Conserve life. Earlier, 12 states and three Institutions were presented awards for various innovations in Integrated Watershed Management Programme.

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