Watershed development in India: Synthesis of past experiences and needs for future research

P. K. Joshi, V. Pangare, B. Shiferaw, S. P. Wani, J. Bouma, C. Scott

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


A large portion of the rainfed areas (65 per cent of arable land) in India is characterised by low productivity, high risk and uncertainty, low level of technological change and vulnerability to degradation of natural resources. The region houses a sizable number of unemployed, poverty ridden and undernourished population. The majority (about 70 per cent) of the population in the region is dependent on agriculture, which is still under subsistence and prone to weather and market uncertainties. Ironically, the rainfed areas were by-passed with respect to investment on infrastructure and technology intervention as compared to irrigated areas. Policy initiatives were inappropriate, lethargic and often unattended for this vulnerable region. Such a scenario has impeded the growth performance of the rainfed areas as compared to irrigated agriculture. The paper consists of five sections. A brief introduction is followed by a section on the evolution of watershed development in India. The impact of watershed develop-ment programme on efficiency, equity and sustainability of natural resources are reviewed in Section III. The following section synthesises the lessons learnt from numerous experiences in the past. The last section outlines the issues for future research and development in watershed development.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)303-320
Number of pages18
JournalIndian Journal of Agricultural Economics
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 2004

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Development


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