The Command Area Development Programme was launched in 1974-1975 with the set objectives of improving the utilisation of created irrigation potential and optimising agriculture production and productivity from irrigated agriculture through a multi-disciplinary team under an Area Development Authority. It is about the command areas of the major and medium irrigation projects in the country.
The programme was restructured and termed as “Command Area Development and Water Management (CADWM) Programme” from 1 April 2004.
This programme was initially introduced in 60 major and minor projects including the Indira Gandhi Canal Command Area in 1974. Subsequently, the Command Area Development Programme has spread 110 districts in 13 states, covering about 15 million hectares of irrigated agricultural land. So far it has covered 310 irrigation projects with a Culturable Command Area (CCA) of about 28.45 mha. Financial assistance is provided to the state governments on 50:50 basis for the construction activities.
The main objectives of the Command Area Development and Water Management Programme are as under:
- Warbandi or the rotational system of water distribution: Some of the marginal and small farmers were not getting their share of the irigation water. In fact, their water was being utilised by the influential big farmers. In order to overcome this problem, Warbandi was done to ensure equitable and timely supply of water to all the farmers irrespective of the size of their holdings.
- Construction of field channels and field-drains to reduce the water pilferages and effective utilisation of water for irigation. Central assistance up to 50 per cent (limited to the prescribed cost norma) is provided to the irrigation and field-developmental activities.
- Land levelling for the uniform spread of irrigation water in the field.
- Demonstrations and training to farmers to diffuse technical know-how and for the adoption of new agricultural innovations for developing suitable cropping patterns, as well as improved farming practices and maintaining soil fertility.
- To prepare a plan for the supply of inputs, credit, seeds, fertilisers, insecticides and pesticides.
- Construction of chak-roads.
- To promote ancillary activities like animal husbandry, forestry, poultry, marketing, and processing facilities.
- Diversification of agriculture to make it more profitable and sustainable.
- To give more emphasis to the cultivation of oil-seeds, pulses, and green-manure crops.
- To introduce participatory management of irrigation.
- Reclamation of the water-logged areas rendered useless in the irrigated command areas.
- Adaptive trials and demonstrations, training of farmers, etc.
- Repair, renovation, and restoration of water bodies.