Features of WGDP
i. Western Ghats Development Programme is implemented in participatory mode through Panchayat Raj Institutions. It is fully integrated with the Decentralized Planning Process.
ii. Western Ghats Development Programme (WGDP) is implemented on the basis of a clear set of “Operational Guidelines“issued by the Government of Kerala based on the Common Approach for Watershed Programmes, and the existing Guidelines of other watershed programmes considering the peculiarities of the State.
iii. Project proposals for the micro watersheds are selected by the District Level Coordination Committee (DLCC) from the priority list of watersheds in the District. This list is prepared by taking into account a set of parameters such as soil and land features, socio economic features, drinking water scarcity, percentage of SC/ST population etc. The projects proposals prepared and discussed by the watershed Gram Sabha and the Gram Panchayat and approved by the DLCC are funded under WGDP. The Gram Panchayats have to share 10% of the total project cost. There is a beneficiary share of another 10%.
iv. The Watershed Gram Sabha identifies the location specific development activities and gives approval for the project. The beneficiary list is also approved by the Watershed Gram Sabha.
v. Social justice is ensured by incorporating suitable livelihood schemes for the poor and the marginalized. The landless and the poor also get appropriate representation in the Watershed Committees. The benefits of treatment of common property lands are shared by the landless also.
vi. Women empowerment is also achieved through creating greater opportunities for jobs and thereby increasing their income. There is a mandatory provision for inclusion of women working in SHGs in the Watershed Committee as well as in the Monitoring Committee. Training programmes on livelihood programmes help them to develop entrepreneurial and leadership skills.
vii. There is a watershed committee account jointly operated by the Chairperson of the watershed committee (Gram Panchayat President) and the convener of the watershed committee (Agricultural Officer).
viii. There is an 11 member monitoring committee.
ix. The works are executed by the beneficiary committees, user groups or the watershed committees and payments are made to the beneficiaries through bank cheques.
x. Social audit is to be conducted every year and Gram Sabha of the watershed, which gives access to all the accounts, registers and vouchers.
xi. The income and expenditure statement has to be approved by the Watershed Gram Sabha.
xii. A Chartered Accountant decided by the DLCC/ District administration will have to audit accounts and the annual audited statements are to be forwarded to the Western Ghats Cell.
xiii. The overall sectoral priority of investment under WGDP in Kerala is:
Integrated Development of Watersheds: 80 %.
Forest Based Programmes: 10%.
Other Activities (Administration, Research, Monitoring etc): 10 %.
xiv. The component wise Project cost is:
Natural Resource Management: 52.50 %.
Production System Management: 20 %.
Livelihood Support Systems: 7.5 %.