Drought Governance and Response Strategies including Mission Kakatiya in Telangana, India
Centre for Good Governance
Video Not Available
Telangana, formed as 29th state in India about two years ago is struggling to sort its issues concerning agriculture, which contributes to only 12.8% to the State Gross Domestic Product (GSDP) but supports 55.49 % of population. Farming in the state is mainly rain fed (60%) and is often prone to droughts due to climate change. The state is in its third year of successive droughts and is currently in the midst of one of the most severe droughts in its history with 22 % rains below normal. Considering the geography and climate of the region, huge number of tanks were constructed that helped to manage droughts for centuries. Water levels in major reservoirs under Godavari and Krishna basins have gone down to an all-time low during the last decade. The ground water table has been reducing and the state government has declared 231 mandals out of 443 rural mandals as drought affected.This warrants governance of drought with response strategies like in other natural hazards comprising, a system of early warning, a system of government preparedness and an enabling system that provides support and assistance to imperilled communities. Based on the proven drought planning mechanisms elsewhere, a drought governance framework is developed for the state of Telangana with suitable modifications. Several drought management strategies like conservation agriculture, integrated farming systems, managing water resources, drought management practices like selection of drought resistant varieties, early maturing varieties, crop specific agronomic recommendations suitable to the state have been identified and proposed.Historically tanks have been a part of the irrigation landscape of Deccan Plateau of India for centuries. Due to topography, Kakatiya rulers constructed thousands of tanks for drinking and as well as irrigation in Telangana. However, their use has been declining over a period of time mainly due to government attention and lack of community involvement in tank management and Maintenance, inadequate and unreliable water supply to the tank resulting in actual decline in the area irrigated by tanks. Tank irrigation which peaked to 5, 30,565 ha in 1956-57 has declined to 2, 18, 124 ha by 2009. Due to impending crisis of groundwater irrigation, there is a renewed attention for restoration of all minor numbering 46,531 irrigation tanks under Mission Kakatiya (Mana Ooru – Mana Cheruvu meaning our village our tank ) in a decentralised manner through community involvement. The objective of Mission Kakatiya is to enhance the development of Minor Irrigation infrastructure, strengthening community based irrigation management, adopting a comprehensive programme for restoration of tanks. The mission activities began, needed rules have been framed and efforts are being made to ensure proper execution of stipulated procedures.The tanks restoration as a major response to combat drought is expected in the coming years. The program will be implemented in a phased manner in the next five years, the inputs to make the program successful, progress and impacts will be reported.