Gaalmukt Dharan, Gaalyukt Shivar (Desiltation of Tanks) Scheme: A Drought Proofing Intervention

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A large number of small reservoirs (tanks) to harvest rainwater have been constructed in Maharashtra over the years, to increase water availability in semi-arid drought prone regions. With me, the reservoirs lose their water holding capacity due to accumulation of silt flowing in from their catchments. Few NGOs along with the state administration have engaged in desiltation of reservoirs, with application of silt on agriculture land by farmers. The Maharashtra Government has initiated the Gaalmukt Dharan and Gaalyukt Shivar Yojana (GDGS), a supportive program to upscale this activity. However, there is insufficient scientific assessment of the various aspects of such desiltation activities. Given the huge potential of the GDGS in increasing resilience to drought in the semi-arid regions, small and marginal farmers need to be given priority in the benefits. Further, accountability and transparency in the desiltation activities needs to be enhanced, involving the village gram panchayat in its decision-making and monitoring.

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