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Shri. Ashok Dalwai

Chief Executing Officer

CEO's Message : Rainfed agriculture has a prominent role to play in India’s agriculture and economy. India ranks first among the rainfed countries in the world in terms of area, but counts amongst the lowest in rainfed yields (<1 ton/ha). As high as 78 m.ha. accounting for 64 per cent of the country's net sown area is rainfed. These areas are home to majority of our rural poor and marginal farmers, who encounter multiple risks and uncertainties relating to bio-physical and socio-economic conditions. These areas are characterized by poverty, malnutrition, water scarcity, severe land degradation, lower yields, low investments and poor physical and social infrastructure. Further, rainfed areas are more vulnerable to climatic variability and climate change implications due to their poor capacity to cope with extreme water and weather shocks. This precipitous context warrants a robust platform, that can bring in innovative policies, knowledge and technologies to create opportunities for holistic and sustainable development of rainfed areas. The National Rainfed Area Authority (NRAA) was constituted as an attached office of the then Department of Agriculture & Cooperation, Ministry of Agriculture on 3rd November, 2006. There are many learnings from the strategy and field execution. A decade of experience is an inflection point in the life of an organization. A new look and rededicated Authority would now be serving as an Advisory Body for policy and programme formulation and monitoring of schemes / programmes to resolve the agrarian challenges across the vast rainfed system of the country, besides promoting sustainable practices for steady growth of agricultural sector and farmers’ welfare. The broad contours of the Authority’s work are:- a) Identify best practices for rainfed agriculture available across different research organizations & academic institutions and collation for development of rainfed and vulnerable districts across the country on a sustainable basis.; b) Develop area specific farming systems for critically vulnerable 150 districts on priority to make agriculture sustainable and profitable; c) Pilot best practices in these districts to demonstrate their efficacy and lay a roadmap for scaling up across all vulnerable districts; d) Develop various modules for master trainers, farming system, water budgeting and accounting for these areas.; e) Assist States and UTs in revisiting the District Irrigating Plans (DIPs), if required, from the perspective of addressing specific concerns of highly vulnerable districts.; f) Assist States & UTs in preparation of Annual Action Plan for implementing “Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojna” (PMKSY), so as to bring focus on prioritized operational area and cluster based irrigation chain development.; g) Set an appropriate research agenda including a critical appraisal of ongoing programmes.; h) Suggest short & long term plans for sustainable development of rainfed area by promoting water use efficiency and harvest the advantages of ‘per drop more crop’; i) Monitor and supervise programme implementation in identified 150 critically vulnerable drought prone districts in particular and all other districts at large; j) Identify and recommend various agro-forestry models suitable for vulnerable districts across the country; 2. The Authority would serve as a knowledge platform and connect research/academic institutions and implementing agencies. It would also focus on livelihood opportunities for the landless and marginal farmers who constitute a large majority of the rainfed area population 3. NRAA shall facilitate skill and knowledge development of the farmers and enable openness and ability to adopt improved technologies & management practices for crop production, animal husbandry, horticulture, agro-forestry & farm resources linked enterprises. The strategy of achieving comprehensive and sustainable development of the rainfed system in the country will largely be guided by the principles of Integrated Farming System (IFS), Watershed Management and resilience in the context of climate change. 4. The Authority looks forward to partnering with all the agricultural research and academic institutions, all central and state ministries & departments related to farmers’ welfare, NGOs, professional associations of knowledge, information, trade, commerce & industry; and also various international bodies and institutions working in India. The Authority would be keen to avail itself of the fund of knowledge, expertise and experience from across the country in the service of the farmers living and farming in rainfed areas and contributing to the nation’s food security and livelihood opportunities.