As a response to recurring drought, increasing water scarcity and depleting ground water aquifers, the Rajiv Gandhi Foundation initiated its natural resource management (NRM) programme in November 2001. In 2011, the Foundation promoted Gram Gaurav to take forward its NRM work and has been supporting it since then. The Gram Gaurav Sansthan has been working in 78 villages of the Dang region in Rajasthan. Its activities have focused on supporting the local community in efforts to augment water resources, scale up soil conservation and enhance agricultural production. Since 2012, the project has impacted 1,760 families through the construction of over 400 structures. More than 730 hectares of land have assured irrigation and 116 hectares of wasteland is now under double cropping. There has also been significant yield enhancement in paddy, wheat, mustard, gram and millet. Around 900 women in the project area have been organised into 79 self-help groups (SHGs).
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Dang region in the Karauli District of Rajasthan is most popular for its backwardness. The tiny valleys’ of Aravali has offered space for bandits to use it as a safe hideout. The region is deprived of basic amenities like roads, electricity, schools or medical facilities. The main regional occupation agriculture, also suffers high scarcity of water. No efforts were made to procure rain water or other natural resources until the Rajiv Gandhi Foundation came to the rescue of the region. The Rajiv Gandhi Foundation has built over 400 water preservation structures in various villages in the region. The Foundation has helped setup the Gram Gaurav Sansthan to carry forward the Foundation’s work in natural resources management with the help of local residents and Panchayats.
Maharajpura is situated at a distance of 300 metres from the foothills of the Aravali Mountains in the Sherni region. The village is home for 100 families out of which 98 belong to the other backward class community and 2 schedule tribes.
The Rajiv Gandhi Foundation took out an awareness rally in the region to join villages to its rainwater harvesting campaign. While reaching Maharajpura, the team was very sad to see the state of the village. The team called a meeting of the village residents and informed them about the benefits of rain water harvesting and how it can change the face of the village. The villagers were already aware of the work the Foundation was doing from some relatives in nearby villages. A mutual consensus between the villagers and the Foundation officials was built to develop a structure to preserve rain water. After an initial exercise to identify the most suitable location, the Foundation and the villagers took to the task of mobilizing resources for the same. The Foundation provided the major part of financial assistance and the villagers worked to get the NOC from the local authorities. After getting the no objection certificate from local officials the villagers also started mobilizing funds from their end collecting small contributions. In 3 months a lake from rain water came up which could supply ample water for agriculture in the village. In 2012 (the year the structure was built) a total of 712 acres of land was sown and in no time the farms were filled with fresh harvest. The next year the village produced a total of 1840 quintal mustard, 3378.80 quintal wheat and 20 quintal of barley. The next year the land sown increased from 712 to 825 acres as the villagers were able to level the dilapidated 113 acres and the production increased accordingly. The villagers take time out to maintain the lake during rainy season and are living a happier life.