43069-012: Livelihood Improvement for River Erosion Victims in Assam

Project Data Sheet (PDS): Details


Assam is the most severely affected area in India in terms of floods and erosion, accounting for 9.4% of the country's total flood-prone area. In Assam, damage due to floods has been caused by two river systems: the Brahmaputra and the Barak. In the subproject areas, flood and riverbank erosion has been a chronic problem, causing enormous damage to lives, crops, livestock, land and property. These impacts cause massive displacement of people, increase landlessness, and force local governments to focus scarce resources on relief operations rather than development. Major floods have occurred in 1954, 1962, 1966, 1972, 1977, 1984, 1988, 1998, 2002 and 2004, while floods of lesser magnitude occur almost yearly. As a result, in spite of having vast natural resources, Assam has been unable to meet its development goals. The people in the subproject areas (Palasbari, Kaziranga and Dibrugarh) have lost land and lives to floods and riverbank erosion, which is now an annual phenomenon. In many cases, entire villages have been shifted and relocated away from their original location after the land has eroded. Dikes or embankments have been erected throughout Assam along the riverbanks to protect people and assets from flooding. Such embankments are used by the victims of both riverbank erosion and floods, as their raised platforms provide better shelter than living on the floodplain. Entire families and villages in need of land have built their houses on existing or retired embankments. Many of these families, especially in Dibrugarh, live on side of the embankment nearest the river, increasing their vulnerability. Although the embankments are built on government land, the government of Assam has not taken a hard line approach towards the illegal settlements. It would be complex and costly to resettle the riverbank inhabitants on private land, and the government has supported the provision of limited facilities (e.g., basic drinking water supplies, and in some instances electricity and some educational facilities). The impact of the project is the improved incomes of vulnerable victims of river erosion, in the subproject areas of Kaziranga, Dibrugarh and Palasbari, Assam. The expected outcome is improved incomes of vulnerable female river erosion victims in three subproject sites in Assam.

Project Rationale and Linkage to Country/Regional Strategy

The Japan Fund for Poverty Reduction project is linked to the ADB-financed Assam Integrated Flood and Riverbank Erosion Risk Management Investment Program. Linkage to ADB Strategy Country Partnership Strategy 2009-2012 Document Number: Sec.M16-09 Objectives: Support for inclusive and environmentally sustainable growth; catalyze investment though the use of innovative business and financing solutions; increase results orientation and emphasize knowledge solutions; support for regional cooperation. Strategy 2020: The Long-Term Strategic Framework of ADB 2008-2020 Objectives: Promotes inclusive growth and poverty reduction; supports rural infrastructure development for irrigation, water resources, and agriculture marketing


Reduced poverty of communities vulnerable to river erosion in Dibrugarh, Palabasri and Kaziranga

Project Outcome

Description of Outcome

Increased livelihood opportunities and incomes of river erosion victims in 3 subproject sites in Assam, including women.

Progress Towards Outcome

It is too early to assess progress toward outcome as the project team is still being recruited.

Implementation Progress

Description of Project Outputs

(1) Improved skills in spinning and increased market access; (2) Improved weaving skills and increased market access. (3) Improved vegetable production skills and market access. (4) Educated youth learn new employable skills, and (5) Youth learn to set up microenterprises (6) Increased capacities of project management and implementation of NGOs

Status of Operation/Construction or Implementation Progress

The project has suffered from singificant start-up delays caused by delays in recruiting implementation NGOs. Substantial progress in recruitment has nevertheless been achieved, and ther recruitment is now in the final stage. These NGOs are expected to be mobilized by end-November 2014. A livelihood and coordination consultant was mobilized in September 2013, and he has since assisted the project in the overall start-up activities, including preparation of the recruitment documents. The recruitment of a monitoring and evaluation consultant is currently in its final stage and mobilization is expected before November 2014.

Safeguard Categories

Environment: C
Involuntary Resettlement: C
Indigenous Peoples: C

Summary of Environmental and Social Aspects

Environmental Aspect

Project activities focus on beneficiaries' skills improvement and capacity building to access services and market opportunities. No social or environmental safeguard issues are envisaged.

Involuntary Resettlement

Project activities focus on beneficiaries' skills improvement and capacity building to access services and market opportunities. No social or environmental safeguard issues are envisaged.

Indigenous Peoples

Project activities focus on beneficiaries' skills improvement and capacity building to access services and market opportunities. No social or environmental safeguard issues are envisaged.

Stakeholder Participation and Consultation

During Project Design

During project design, local NGOs and several women's SHGs were consulted to assess the extent and level of participation in existing programs by beneficiaries. Local NGOs have a high level of participation, and potential project beneficiaries were generally satisfied with the extent to which their views and ideas were considered.

During Project Implementation

Local NGOs will be contracted to implement the main activities relating to the development of economic opportunities and livelihoods, largely through building and expanding successful participatory programs. Much of the work by local NGOs has been through producer groups and SHGs.


Project Data Sheets (PDS) contain summary information on the project or program. Because the PDS is a work in progress, some information may not be included in its initial version but will be added as it becomes available. Information about proposed projects is tentative and indicative.

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