SPWD undertook a program on “Developing an agro-ecoregion based approach for characterization of wastelands and their potential for enhancing livelihoods of the marginalised rural population in the ongoing land-based developmental programs” with support from DoLR, MoRD. The project’s objectives were –

  • To develop an approach for characterization of wastelands in different agro-ecoregions that would take into consideration the process of degradation in an area and also the institutional environment pertaining to natural resources management in the area.
  • To factor-in the characterization developed in the design of the land-based development projects being implemented in the agro-ecoregion(s) and to develop the capacity of civil society institutions for practical application of the approach for field level implementation purposes.

SPWD is currently working on a project on environmental benefits of MGNREGA to improve the natural resource base of the rural population by promoting conservation, replenishment and sustainable use of natural resources through MGNREGA. SPWD has been providing consultancy services to GIZ (1) for developing the model demonstration sites & creating awareness of environment benefits (2) for training worksite supervisors under MGNREGA-EB (3) for providing exposure visits for wasteland development, water management & conservation and GIS-based participatory planning under MGNREGA (4) for GIS-based DPR preparation for Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchai Yojana (PMKSY) convergence with MGNREGA (5) for facilitating convergence planning and implementation to leverage environment benefit through sustainable NRM in Rajasthan.

In future SPWD would continue land-based work undertaken under MGNREGA keeping in view the environmental benefits of the same. There have been some shortcomings in the wasteland characterization done such as not using Pressure State-Fallout-Response analysis and also not including the adequate process of degradation or looking at institutional and economic factors. An exercise would be done involving selected NGOs from different locations in understanding left out aspects and to build capacity to intervene to improve the efficiency of resource use focusing especially on a resource-poor section. The participatory study would be conducted to analyze 5-fold or 9-fold classification comparing with the classification used traditionally by the cultivators. SPWD would build a network to discuss and document land-related policy issues.