Irrigation Policy: Command Area Development Programme

Command Area Development programme was launched to narrow the gap between irrigation potential created and actually utilized in major and medium irrigation schemes

In all five year plans, considerable importance was given to the creation of additional irrigation potential. However, the potential actually utilized was much below. The irrigation potential created over the years in major and medium works was not been fully utilised and the gap between the potential created and the actual utilisation was widening.

This non-utilization occurred mainly because there was a delay in construction of the field channels and drains. Lack of involvement of farmers is also an important constraint.

In 1974-75, the Government of India launched the Command Area Development programme to bridge / narrow the gap between irrigation potential created and actually utilized in major and medium irrigation schemes. This scheme was supposed to develop adequate delivery of the irrigation water up to the fields. A Command Area Development Authority was established to maximize the productivity in the irrigation command areas through an integrated approach with the following components:

  • Construction of field channels and field drains
  • Land shaping wherever necessary
  • Introduction of rotational supply of water to ensure equitable and assured distribution to individual farm holdings.

But the CAD Programme was not particularly successful because of three constraints:

  • The water supply at the outlet was unreliable
  • The available technology was could not be adopted properly
  • Farmers particularly did not participate in the scheme.

This programme was restructured and renamed as Command Area Development and Water Management Programme (CADWMP) since April 1, 2004. The scheme was further restructured and was thrown to states to implement in 2008-09.

Currently, Command Area Development Programme has also been amalgamated with the AIBP to reduce the gap between irrigation potential that has been created and that is utilized.


  • martin mj

    thank u for ur information

  • abhishek sinha

    Where these articles present in gktoday website. I mean how I can browse these as when i search in the website I do not find the path and when i google the topic it refers to the link.
    Kindly help me in this regard.