Watershed development has the potential of ensuring long-term improvements in soil-water conservation, livelihoods and agricultural productivity. Aranya has been implementing watershed projects since year 2002. Two projects have been completed covering 3,000 hectares and directly benefitting 1,100 farmer families. A third project over 10,000 hectares is currently underway.

INTEGRATED WATERSHED MANAGEMENT PROGRAMME – BATCH V (2013 – 14) MEMORANDUM OF UNDERSTANDING BETWEEN IMG_8604THE INTEGRATED TRIBAL DEVELOPMENT AGENCY & ARANYA AGRICULTURAL ALTERNATIVES NGO 

1. This Memorandum of Understanding is signed on this day, the 17-09-2013.of 2013 between the Integrated Tribal Development Agency, having its office at Utnoor, Adilabad District  represented by its authorized representative, the Project Officer, ITDA as the First Part 

AND

Aranya Agricultural Alternatives (Non- Government Organization) bearing its registration No.1502 of 99 Registration date 12th day March 1999 having its office at H.No. 1.3-155/17, Divyanagar Colony, Manchiryal Road,Nirmal Adilabad District  (hereinafter referred to as the Project Implementation Agency [PIA]) represented by its authorized representative Narsanna/Narsaiah Koppula as the Second Party.

2. Whereas the First party is desirous of entrusting the management and implementation of the watershed development projects under the Integrated Watershed Management Programme (IWMP) and the Second party, having experience in the watershed sector, is also desirous of participating in the implementation and the management of the IWMP watersheds and the two parties to this Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the intentions of being legally bound, accept the following terms and conditions.

3. Preamble
In the year 2008, the Ministry of Rural Development have brought forth a comprehensive programme named Integrated Watershed Management Programme (IWMP) with an aim to restore the ecological balance by harnessing, conserving and developing degraded natural resources such as soil, vegetative cover, water and building sustainable livelihoods for rural poor. The Common Guidelines of the Department of Land Resources, GoI, envisage that the voluntary organizations (NGOs) can be considered as one of the Project Implementing Agencies (PIAs) and responsible for the implementation of watershed projects in different districts without exceeding 1/4th of the total Projects at a time in a State. Accordingly, the GoAP has decided to allocate IWMP projects to the NGOs as PIAs in adherence to the common guidelines. State Level Nodal Agency took the initiative to take this agenda forward and formalize the partnerships between First and Second Parties through this MoU. State Level Nodal Agency also plays important role in ensuring the effective partnerships during the entire period of the project.   

4. Purpose of the Agreement:
This is an agreement among two parties, as mentioned above, for the appointment and the devolving upon the 2nd Party the role and the responsibilities of the Project Implementing Agency in the implementation of the IWMP projects, as stipulated in the Common guidelines in the Adilabad district.

5. Period of Agreement:
This agreement commences from the date of the execution of the MOU September 2013 and shall ordinarily stand concluded by 31st March 2019 completed year from the sanction year of the IWMP project).
However, nothing precludes the earlier closure of the project with the mutual agreement of both the first and the second party if all the physical and financial parameters are conclusively considered to be achieved.

6. Project Area:
This MOU is applicable to the following IWMP projects as decided by the First Party in consultation with the Second Party: 
Lakkaram  IWMP project Utnoor (M) Adilabad district 
In case project areas are revisited, project cost also changes accordingly.
(The names of Projects, Mandals & area proposed for watershed projects are enclosed in Annexure No 1). 

7. Roles and Responsibilities of First Party (ITDA):
7.1 Designate the Addl. Project Director (WS) as the Coordinating Officer [CO] from ITDA to coordinate with the PIAs.
7.2 Facilitate the preparation of the strategic action plans, annual action plans and capacity building plans for the allotted IWMP projects by the PIAs
7.3 Provide professional and technical support in the planning and the execution of watershed development projects, as and when sought for by the Second party.
7.4 Carry out regular monitoring, evaluation of all the activities carried out under IWMP
– Monitoring shall include process and outcome monitoring. The PIA shall    submit quarterly progress reports to the ITDA for further submission to the SLNA.
– Internal Monitoring by PIA – On regular basis
– Progress Monitoring – On regular basis
– Web Based On-Line Monitoring
– Self Monitoring by communities – Quarterly basis
– Social Audits – Half yearly basis
– Process Monitoring – Yearly once
– Internal and external statutory guidelines 
7.5 Ensure timely approvals and smooth flow of funds to the PIAs and watershed development projects as per the state operational guidelines
7.6 Inspect all work sites as per the works strategy communicated from time to time to ensure quality, quantity, suitability and utility of the works taken up by the PIAs under IWMP
7.7 Facilitate the access by the Second party of services from other Government institutions viz., Agriculture, Horticulture, Animal Husbandry, etc and other institutions having expertise in watershed and livelihood related interventions.
7.7  Review the maintenance of the records and registers of the IWMP works maintained by the PIAs, Watershed Committees and evaluate the work of the PIA for determining further funding.
7.8  Provide support to SLNA in undertaking evaluation studies, impact assessment studies and such other evaluation tasks as deemed fit from time to time.
7.9  Support the Second Party in conflict resolution processes at village level in the execution of watershed development projects
7.10   Facilitate coordination between Second Party and Zilla Parishad, Mandal Praja Parishad and Grama Panchayat members in the smooth implementation of watershed development projects
7.11   Evolve systems and procedures for convergence between watershed development projects and Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme so that duplication of works/ expenditure is avoided. 

8. Rolesand Responsibilities of Second Party (PIA):
8.1) Execution of MoU within the time frame set by the SLNA on receipt of communication from SLNA/ITDA
8.2) Each PIA should position a dedicated Watershed Development team as envisaged in the Common Guidelines (2008). The Second Party ensures the deployment of full time watershed development team having relevant academic qualifications and professional experience in watershed management/ natural resource development projects. The Second Party shall designate one Senior Expert having management skills, relevant qualifications & experience as Project Officer for the IWMP project. In case the Second Party is responsible for two IWMP projects, one Project Officer could be appointed for both IWMP projects.
8.3) The project staff to be recruited in all categories under IWMP shall preferably be local tribals.  
8.4) Watershed Computer Centers (WCC) have to be established by the PIA in the allotted IWMP projects placing Computer Operators for carrying out all work execution and financial processes on lines of ITDA       
8.5) Facilitate preparation of Detailed Project Reports (DPRs) and annual action plans for the projects allotted and obtain administrative and technical sanctions from respective ITDA/. Involve women SHGs / NGOs in watershed planning & implementation.
8.6) Undertake social mobilization processes to create awareness and facilitate formation of Watershed Committees, User Groups, and Self Help Groups and provide regular facilitation support to strengthen the institutions.
8.7) Based upon the Detailed Project Report [DPR] and the formats stipulated by the SLNA, the second party shall furnish to the first party the following documents within the time given time frame;
a)    The five year perspective plan.
b)    The annual action plans.
c)    The quarterly action plans for the current year.
d)    Budgets for capacity building purpose.
The above plans shall encompass all activities and shall contain both the physical and the financial parameters.
These plans shall become the agreed point of reference between the first and the second party for the monthly/quarterly/yearly progress evaluation.
The first and the second party shall in the 2nd fortnight of March, every year, review the progress of the annual action plan of the current year and if so warranted, revise the action plan of the succeeding year duly including the component wise spill over of the previous year.
8.8) Develop Annual Training calendars for both the secondary and primary stakeholders through conduct of Training Needs assessment and execute the plans.
8.9) Assist ITDA and Watershed Committees in identifying the Village level functionaries and provide monitoring and hand holding support to them.
8.10) Adoption of processes common to all projects in the state advocated by SLNA / GoI like those relating to fund release and utilization, monitoring & evaluation, approvals & sanctions, reporting, Social audit, Muster roll maintenance, works strategy, sanctioning authority, etc is mandatory for the PIA.
8.11) Timely submissions of progress reports as desired by the ITDAs SLNA/GoI and attend all reviews / meetings conducted for 2nd party by the ITDAs/ SLNA /GoI.
8.12) Utilize the funds sanctioned for different projects / components in accordance with the guidelines.
8.13) Maintain all registers and documents at PIA & WCs as prescribed by SLNA and make them available for verification as and when required.
8.14) Ensure that the project activities take off immediately and expenditure starts getting incurred as per approved plans.
8.15) Execution of NRM works through User Groups / wage seekers as per the Plans by adopting ridge to valley approach, four water concepts and in a complete saturation mode.
8.16) Periodical conduct of watershed committees and User Group meetings. Watershed Committee meetings have to be held once in a month and the User Group meetings once in every fortnight as well as need based.
8.17) Development of production systems and promotion of productivity enhancement interventions.
8.18) Organize trainings to primary stakeholders i.e., watershed committee members / GP members / VO leaders / UG members and secondary  stakeholders i.e., TOs, Village level workers, etc
8.19) Ensure quality in the works executed in aspects of location, design, quality of construction and total involvement of concerned farmers / people.
8.20) Timely completion of watersheds as per the project cycle
8.21) Encourage adoption of low cost technologies and build upon indigenous technical knowledge.
8.22) Develop convergence with line departments / local institutions for effective implementation of the Watershed projects
8.23) Coordinate with DRDA functionaries, Mandal Samakhyas, Village Organizations of the allotted clusters for proper management of the Revolving fund and creation of sustainable livelihoods to the poorest of poor having no assets.
8.24) At the time of project closure, all the assets created and funds released shall properly be accounted for and safely handed over to ITDA/ Gram Panchayat for post project management.
8.25) Abide by the instructions issued by GoI / GoAP for the implementation of these projects, from time to time and ensure compliance at all levels of project implementation.
8.26) Demonstrate innovative approaches and models of watershed development projects

9.  Fund flow mechanism and financial obligations:
9.1) A separate Savings Bank account should be opened by the PIA for the WCC at the Mandal head quarters, where the IWMP projects are being implemented.
9.2) The entire IWMP funds shall be placed in a central nodal bank at state level.
9.3) Electronic Fund Management System (eFMS) mode of payment shall be deployed at all levels for financial transparency and timely payments.
9.5) The project funds should not be utilized for purchase of vehicles/ photocopier/Video Recorder/ Projector, construction of any permanent buildings and such other capital items.
9.6) The accounts at PIA and respective Watershed Committee levels shall be audited by a Chartered Accountant selected from a panel approved by the C&AG and appointed by ITDA within three months of the closure of the financial year and furnish consolidated Audited Statement of Accounts and Utilization Certificate for release of funds every year, by the end of June of the next/ following year.
9.7)  8% of total budget would be released to Second Party for administration purposes towards PIA & WSC level expenditure which will be subject to the progress in expenditure on various project components.

10. Monitoring & Evaluation System
10.1) Monitoring:
10.1.1) Regular monitoring of the project will have to be carried out at each stage.
10.1.2) Monitoring includes process and outcome monitoring. Online MIS & process monitoring is a feature of all projects.
10.1.3) The ITDA monitors the watershed project by various mechanism -Internal Monitoring by project teams, Progress Monitoring, GIS / Web Based On – Line Monitoring, Self – Monitoring by communities, Sustainability Monitoring, Social Audits, Independent and External evaluations by independent agencies, etc.
10.2) Evaluation:
The evaluations and impact studies will be carried out by SLNA panel of evaluators, selected as per guidelines issued by DoLR, GoI. 

11.  Performance Indicators of ITDAs, PIA, Watershed Projects:
11.1) ITDAs:
11.1.1) Approval of the quarterly action plans and the administrative budget requirement of the current year within seven days after submission by the PIAs and submit the same to SLNA for fund released within 15 days after submission by the PIAs.
11.1.2) The Addl.PD (WS) shall visit watersheds allotted to the PIA at least once a month and record progress of execution of works against the action plans.
11.1.3) Conduct of reviews on monthly basis along with all other PIAs
11.1.4) Other indicators as may be defined further as per the requirement of the IWMP
11.2) PIA:
11.2.1) 100% Watershed Communities are aware of the IWMP programme through conducting awareness programmes, orientations, trainings and exposures as per the Institution & CapacityBuilding plans.
11.2.2) Watershed Committees and User Groups shall be formed in all the allotted IWMP projects and conduct meetings regularly and record minutes in a register.
11.2.3) Establishing WCCs and positioning of staff at the PIA and Watershed level within one month after signing the MoU.
11.2.4) Preparation of DPRs within 100 days from the date of allotment of the Watershed Projects in case of newly sanctioned projects.
11.2.5) Utilization of funds as per allocations and guidelines indicated in para 67 of Common guidelines (2008). All the bills / vouchers to be submitted to ITDA once in 6 months for verification. Inadmissible amount would be deducted from future allocation. In extreme cases immediate recovery will be affected.
11.2.6) At least 80% of rotation and recovery of revolving funds released to NGOs at any point of the time through record verification of registers and accounts maintained by NGOs by watershed assistants.
11.2.7) All the trainings are conducted for the Watershed stakeholders, line departments, staff, etc per annum as per approved training calendars
11.2.8) Demonstrate best practices under NRM, Productivity Enhancement and Enterprise promotion components
11.2.9) Play an active role in enrollment of wage seekers, work allotment and timely payments in accordance to the guidelines developed on the lines of NREGS. 
11.2.10) At least 80% of physical and financial progress to be achieved against the targets at any point of the time fixed by the SLNA/ ITDA.
11.2.11) Submission of prescribed periodical reports, utilization certificates & proposals to ITDA/ SLNA.
11.2.12) Regular updation of all records and registers maintained by the PIA
11.2.13) Other indicators as may be defined further as per the requirement of IWMP
11.3)  Watershed Committees:
11.3.1)  At least 80% of the WC meetings are held with at least 75% of the members.
11.3.2)  WC is registered within one month from the date of formation under the Act as defined in the Common guidelines
11.3.3)  Ensure conducting of fortnightly User Group meetings 
11.3.4)  100% updation of all records and registers maintained at Watershed level by
 Watershed Assistant.
11.3.5)  Other indicators as and when communicated
11.3.6)  Higher share of budgets/ expenditure is accessed by small & marginal farmers and land less families

12. Expected Outcomes: By end of the Project period, the following outcomes are expected to be ensured by both the parties:
12.1) All the members of the Watershed Committee and staff such as Watershed Assistant have been given orientation and training to improve their knowledge and upgrade technical/management and community organizational skills to a level that is appropriate for the successful discharge of their responsibilities.
12.2) All the works/activities that are planned for the treatment and development of the drainage lines, arable and non-arable lands in the watershed area are done with the active participation and contribution of the user groups and the community at large.
12.3) The user groups/panchayats have willingly taken over the operation and maintenance of the assets created and made suitable administrative and financial arrangements for their maintenance and further development.
12.4) The village community would have been organized into several, homogeneous self-help groups for savings and other income generation activities which would have achieved sufficient commitment from their members and built up financial resources to be self sustaining.
12.5) The increase in cropping intensity and agricultural productivity reflecting in overall increase in agriculture production.
12.6) Increase in income of farmers/ landless labourers in the project area.
12.7) Increase in groundwater table due to enhanced recharge by watershed interventions.