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Command area development UPSC | Regional Development and Planning | Geography of India

Command Area Development program was launched in 1974 to reduce the Gap between Irrigation Potential and actual Utilization, and to improve the socio-economic conditions of farmers.

Irrigation potential not utilized due to;

  • Delay in Construction
  • Lack of participation of farmer

Command Areas Development Authority was set up. The following are the main components of Command Areas Development:

  • Construction of field channel within the reach of each command outlet.
  • Introduction of suitable cropping pattern
  • Development of groundwater to supplement surface water
  • Modernization and maintenance of irrigation system
  • Provide the rotational supply of water to ensure equitably and assured distribution of water to individual farm
Command Area Development and Sustainable development:
It helps to promote sustainable development;
  • It promoted the strict implementation of water management policy
  • Cropping patterns, not include intensive crops, encourage citrus fruits,
  • It includes:
    • Lining of watercourses
    • Land development and labeling
    • Equal distribution of canal water
    • Reclamation of waterlogging and soil salinity
  • Ecological development through afforestation, shelterbelt, and pasture development

It was not successful because;

  • The water supply was not reliable
  • Inefficiency in agriculture technology
  • Lack of farmer participation.
  • Loss of irrigation water through transport

In 2004, It was renamed as Command Areas Development and Water Management Program(CADWMP).

Example of Command areas development:

  • Indira Gandhi Canal Command Areas.
  • Previously known as the Rajasthan Canal, one of the largest canals in India.
  • Project Launched: 1958


  • Harike Barrage in Punjab

It runs parallel to Pakistan Border.

Total length:9060 km

Total Command areas: 19.63 lakh square hectares.

70 % through-flow system and 30 % through the lift system.

Implemented in two stages:

Stages 1:

  •  The 1960s; 
  • Gandhi Nagar, Hanumangarh, Northern Part of Bikaner; 
  • Characterized by gentle slope. 
  • Areas 5.3 Lakh hectare.


  •  It was implemented in the 1980s.
  • Bikaner, Jaisalmer, Barmer, Jodhpur, and Churu districts.
Try to solve the following questions:
  • Discuss the concept of Command Area development and evaluate its success with reference to Indira Gandhi Canal. (UPSC 2014, 200 words, 15 Marks)

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