Owing to the varied physiographic and climatic nature of India, several regions in the country suffer from drought. These regions are characterized by low productivity and cause a strain on the country’s finances and create regional imbalances. The ‘Drought Prone Area Development Programme’ was initiated during the Fourth Five Year Plan with the objectives of providing employment to the people in drought-prone areas and creating productive assets. It was a centrally sponsored programme and was launched in 1973. The long-term measure of the programme was to restore ecological balance by conserving, developing and harnessing land, water, livestock and human resources. This programme is implemented with two views –
1) promote an integrated development of natural resources in the drought prone area with a view of mitigating the adverse effects of droughts on production of crops and productivity of land, water, livestock and human resources.
2) create additional employment in drought prone areas.
Although the programme initially emphasized on the construction of labour-intensive civil
Works, in later times, the emphasis was on irrigation projects, land development programmes, afforestation, grassland development and creation of basic rural infrastructure, such as electricity, roads, market, credit and services.
It is a comprehensive programme as follows a total approach to development and takes a long-term view. But it also has several disadvantages like inefficiency of the bureaucracy regarding its implementation, lack of experience in plan formulation and specific target audience etc.
The National Committee on Development of Backward Areas reviewed the performance of this programme and came to the conclusion that it is largely confined to the development of agriculture and allied sectors with major focus on restoration of ecological balance.
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