DSC's Approach to Policy Influencing

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State level Workshop on Convergence of Watershed Development and NREGA to ensure drinking water security

DSC had conducted a study titled ¡®Convergence of watershed development programme and NREGA to ensure drinking water security ¨C where do we stand? based on which a workshop was organized jointly with WASMO and the Rural Development department.

The objectives of the workshop were to:

  • Share the findings of the above study
  • Identify the enabling factors and processes required for convergence.
  • Clarify the role to be performed by Panchayat, Pani Samiti and watershed Samiti at the village level and WASMO, District Watershed Development Unit (DWDU) and NREGA at the district level for ensuring convergence.


About 150 representatives from WASMO, Watershed Department and NGOs participated in the workshop. Smt Rita Teotia, Principal Secretary, Rural Development was the Chief Guest. Mr Ram kumar (IFS) CEO of GSWMA, Dr Jaipal Singh, CEO of WASMO and Mr R.K Sama, Project Director, WASMO also participated. Dr Sudarshan Iyengar chaired the final session on the recommendations and way forward. There was a general agreement on the recommendations emerging from the study and the workshop. It was agreed that a comprehensive natural resource management plan needs to be developed at the village level. This plan could have different components that would be funded through different programmes. However, there needed to be a mechanism for convergence at the district and state level.

State level workshop on Weather Insurance

The Sajjata Sangh organized a State level workshop on 6th March, 2010 for sharing the experiences of weather insurance. About 145 participants including policy holders, farmers, NGO workers, practitioners, bankers and insurance company, media etc. participated in the same. Experiences of the weather-based crop insurance in various states including initiatives in Gujarat by Sajjata Sangh and SEWA, Andhra Pradesh by BASIX, Maharastra by Micro-Ensure and in Rajasthan by the Agriculture Insurance Company were shared. Linkages and role of Government in promotion of weather insurance in each state were highlighted by each presenter. The policy holders in Gujarat shared their experiences and issues related to rainfall insurance policies made during Kharif 2009. A majority of them were of the view that it was a very useful product and should be scaled up further. Two major issues identified were the need to subsidize the premium rates which at present are in the range of 9-16 per cent and in some cases even more and the need for having more weather stations. There was discussion on the proposed strategy and approach for scaling up of weather-based crop insurance as a potent tool for risk mitigation of farmers in Gujarat, particularly to help them counter the adverse impacts of climate change. As a result of the discussion and experience sharing during the workshop, NABARD agreed to support Sajjata Sangh for further scaling up. Looking at the experiences gained during the last three years, Sajjata Sangh plans to promote weather insurance with about 5,000 farmers in the State during Kharif 2010.

Government order on Volumetric Supply and Pricing

At the instance of Development Support Centre, Government had constituted a core group with DSC as one of the members to work out the modalities for implementation of volumetric supply and pricing system for distribution of water for irrigation. Based on the recommendations of the core group, Government has issued a resolution dated 4.11.2009 deciding volumetric rates for supply of irrigation water to irrigation cooperatives under Participatory Irrigation Management, having measuring devices.

Modifications in the Government order on the use of canal water for domestic purpose

Although the Government had issued an order on the use of canal water for domestic purpose, this order was restricted largely to the operational area of DSC. However in order to modify the scope of the Government resolution dated 24.4.08, the DSC Board had requested the organization to approach the Government to carry out the necessary modifications so that other NGOs and CBOs within Gujarat could also benefit from the same. After almost 10 months and continuous follow up, the Narmada Water Resources, Water Supply and Kalpsar Department has issued an order modifying the GR permitting use of canal water for drinking and domestic purposes. These modifications will enable NGOs and Community Based Organizations other than DSC to take up construction of washing ghats/bathing ghats on canal banks.

Recognition by Commissioner Rural Development, Government of Gujarat as a Partner

The Government of Gujarat is in the process of undertaking intensive accreditation exercise for NGOs wherein credibility alliance and the Sajjata Sangh are also likely to be involved. This process will cut across all Departments of the State who wish to engage NGOs as implementing agencies, for capacity building and research and monitoring. However since this exercise is quite cumbersome, as a temporary measure a few selected organizations have been recognized so as not to hinder their partnership with the government. The GOG vide their letter 18.6.09 issued by the Commissioner Rural Development, have selected 31 organizations across the state which also include academic institutions such as South Gujarat University, IRMA etc. DSC has been one of the few NGOs which is recognized as an institute that the government would like to engage for the purposes mentioned above.

Collaboration with SSNNL in providing quality PIM in command areas

The Sardar Sarovar Narmada Nigam Ltd and DSC had a series of dialogues on how to promote quality PIM in the 18 lakh hectares command area. Senior officers from SSNNL and WASMO had visited DSC¡¯s operational area in the Narmada command area which is located in Vehlal, near Ahmedabad. They have appreciated the fact that for the first time in the Narmada command, the WUAs have constructed sub-minors worth Rs.45 million and also the willingly donated land worth about Rs. 42 million required for this construction. WUAs on their own have installed gates and also maintained records of the irrigation carried out in their command area. Looking at this, the MD had invited DSC to discuss how both the organization told to work together. It was felt that the Vehlal as well as the PIM experience in Dharoi where DSC has facilitated federations will be of great value not only for the WUAs in SSNNL but the officers as well as NGOs involved in the same. Thus DSC was invited to share its experience in series of workshops which were facilitated by the MD and Senior officers from SSNNL.

Visit of Chairman, SSNNL to the Vehlal Project Area
To understand the functioning of WUAs and their roles and responsibilities, the SSNNL Chairman Mr. Rajgopalan and other senior officers from SSNNL visited two WUAs (Ramnagar and Kadadara) on 12th March, 2010 and were impressed with the gates fixed by the WUA on the head of sub minor canals. After the Ramnagar visit, a meeting was organized with Committee members of all 12 WUAs. The Chairman inquired about problems and challenges being faced by WUA members in the functioning of the WUAs in response to which the issue regarding illegal pumping of water directly from the branch and main canals was raised by some of the WUA Presidents. The WUA functionaries also appreciated DSC¡¯s role in providing guidance and building their capacities.

Visit of the Vice-Chairman Narmada Valley Development Authority to the Jobat project in Madhya Pradesh

DSC has completed one year as a Technical Support Organisation for capacity building in PIM in the Maan and Jobat PIM projects of Dhar district Madhya Pradesh. Shri O P Rawat, Vice Chairman, Narmada Valley Development Authority and his colleagues Shri Botham, Engineer in Chief and Shri Chauhan, Chief Engineer visited the Jobat project during the month of December 2009 during on going rabi irrigation. They had a meeting with the farmers and visited the canal sites. The visiting officials were highly impressed by the improvement in canal maintenance, irrigation management and increased level of farmer¡¯s participation towards the canal irrigation and its management in both the projects. The farmers made a brief presentation to the VC on how they have adapted some of the best practices in Gujarat, improved irrigation conditions, efforts made so far by NVDA, DSC and MPRLP and the challenges ahead. Responding to the encouraging developments and farmer¡¯s presentation, he promised the farmers to carry out the main canal renovation works in the next two years under AIBP scheme and sorting out other procedural issues of WUAs. Shri O P Rawat appreciated DSC`s efforts for developing co-operation, trust and creating enabling environment for PIM in the area. He requested DSC to support the farmers in agriculture enhancement activities too on the Gujarat pattern.