Prime Minister Narendra Modi has launched a new program Atal Bhujal Yojana for sustainable groundwater management across the country.
- Atal Bhujal Yojana will strengthen the institutional framework for participatory groundwater management.
- The scheme is especially aimed at areas where groundwater levels are very low.
- It will bring about a behavioral change at the community level in groundwater management.
- The scheme is set to be implemented in 8,350 gram panchayats in 78 districts of 7 states.
- The states are Gujarat, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka and Maharashtra.
- The total outlay of the project is Rs. 6000 crore. This is for the duration from 2020-21 to 2024-25.
- Of the total outlay, 50% will be in the form of a World Bank loan. Rest 50% is in the form of central assistance through regular budgeting support.
- The World Bank loan will be repaid by the Central Government.
- States receive the World Bank loan and the Central government’s assistance in the form of state grants.
- As per the scheme, panchayats that perform better will be allocated more financial allocations.
- Also, the Prime Minister has launched the guidelines for Jai Jeevan Mission (JJM).
- JJM aims to provide Functional Household Tap Connection (FHTC) to every household of the country by 2024.
- Currently, of the 17.87 crore rural households in the country, 14.6 crore households accounting for 81.67% of rural households, do not have water tap connections.
- The estimated project cost is Rs. 3.6 lakh crore. Of this, the share of the central government is Rs. 2.08 lakh crore.
- The funding pattern is 90:10 for Himalayan and North-Eastern States; 50:50 for other States and 100% for UTs.
- The released operational guidelines will help every functionary involved with JJM to implement the mission effectively.
India is starting at a future where there will be a severe shortage of drinking water. Excessive usage of groundwater for agriculture has already depleted groundwater resources in many states. Some are facing chronic groundwater shortages. The Programme Atal Bhujal Yojana is the right initiative to regenerate groundwater resources.
As the estimates show, the lack of water tap connection for 81.67% of the rural households is staggering. This means they are either relying upon poor quality for their drinking water purposes or are choosing high court alternatives. The Gal Jeevan Mission is set to change this by providing piped water connections with safe drinking water.