The Central government is set to launch Jal Shakti Abhiyan, an initiative to increase rainwater harvesting and water conservation efforts.
- The initiative will see participation and coordination by 255 IAS officers of the rank of Joint or Additional secretary from various departments of the Central government.
- The campaign is similar to the Gram Swaraj Abhiyan conducted in 2018 for the implementation of government’s flagship schemes in aspirational districts.
- Jal Shakti Abhiyan will run from July 1 to September 15 in states that receive rainfall during south-west monsoon and from October 1 to November 30 in states receiving rainfall during the retreating or north-east monsoon.
- The campaign will cover 313 blocks where groundwater is at a critical level, 1,186 blocks where groundwater is over-exploited and 94 blocks where there is low availability of groundwater.
- The Abhiyan would look into the progress made in harvesting, conserving and bore well recharge activities under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGA), works under the Integrated Watershed Management Program of the Ministry of Rural Development, water body restoration activities of Jal Shakthi Ministry and afforestation program of the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change.
- Progress of all the works will be monitored real-time through a mobile application and a web-based dashboard at indiawater.gov.in
- As part of the initiative, water conservation plans will be drafted for blocks and districts.
- Kisan Vigyan Kendras will be roped in to promote better crop choices for the farmers and efficient use of water for irrigation.
- Awareness for the campaign will be generated through both print and electronic media.
Water scarcity is a reality that India is staring at now. The situation in Chennai has brought the attention of influential people as far as the United States. But, there are thousands of villages across the length and breadth of the country facing severe water scarcity. The monsoon has failed them for the past four years. In such a scenario, the new initiative from the government augurs well.
Rainwater harvesting, afforestation, watershed management, efficient irrigation, etc, are time-tested mechanisms for conserving water. The initiative with its broad mandate is planning to involve all stakeholders in water conservation. Hope the initiative will achieve success in its objective.