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Jal Shakti Abhiyan

  • Category
    Polity & Governance
  • Published
    8th Jul, 2019

Due to increasing water scarcity in urban centres like Chennai, and drought in many parts of central India, the Centre government has initiated the Jal Shakti Abhiyan as a jan-andolan or people’s movement on water conservation.

Context

Due to increasing water scarcity in urban centres like Chennai, and drought in many parts of central India, the Centre government has initiated the Jal Shakti Abhiyan as a jan-andolan or people’s movement on water conservation.

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  • According to Jal Shakti ministry, there is no additional funding or specific targets for Jal Shakti Abhiyan (JSA) to achieve. There was plenty of money already allocated for existing schemes under the Central and State budgets. They can be converted into a single scheme, with a focussed approach.
  • A large-scale communications campaign has also been planned alongside the JSA involving mass mobilisation of different groups including school students, college students, swachhagrahis, Self Help Groups, Panchayati Raj Institution members, youth groups (NSS/NYKS/NCC), defence personnel, ex-servicemen and pensioners, among various others.
  • The conservation efforts will be supplemented by initiatives like developing block and district water conservation plans and 'krishivigyan kendra melas' to promote efficient water use for irrigation and better crop choices.

Jal Shakti Abhiyan

  • The campaign would run from July 1 to September 15 in States receiving rainfall during the south-west monsoon, while States receiving rainfall in the retreating or north-east monsoon would be covered from October 1 to November 30.
  • It is a collaborative effort of various ministries of the Government of India and state governments, being coordinated by the Department of Drinking Water and Sanitation (DDWS) that comes under the Jal Shakti Ministry.
  • An important part of this Abhiyan is that it will focus on five aspects - water conservation and rainwater harvesting, renovation of traditional and other water bodies, reuse of water and recharging of structures, watershed development, and intensive afforestation.

Objective of Jal Shakti Abhiyan

  • to “bring sensitivity on the subject of water conservation, and give it a focussed approach”
  • to create a baseline of water
  • to increase awareness among people to conserve water

Implementation

  • In urban areas, plans with time-bound targets will be developed for wastewater reuse for industrial and agricultural purposes.
  • Plans will be developed for at least one urban water body for groundwater recharge in the block or the city. Scientists and IITs will also be mobilised at the national level to support the teams
  • Despite this huge Central deployment for a scheme on water, which is purely a State subject under the Constitution, this was “not at all a top-down scheme.
  • Over the next two and a half months, the campaign will push to implement existing water conservation schemes and increase awareness in water-stressed districts and blocks.

Per capita availability of Water

  • India’s annual per capita water availability has dropped from 5,177 cubic metres in 1951 to just 1,545 cubic metres in 2011. Climate change has also made the country more vulnerable to water scarcity and rainwater harvesting capacity is only 8%.
  • Most of the blocks, where this Abhiyan is being implemented, fall into the critical or over-exploited groundwater category, where groundwater is being withdrawn faster than it can be replenished.

Stringent norms

  • With regard to targets in terms of the number of reservoirs, check dams or traditional water bodies that would be created, restored or recharged under the scheme, States need to prepare an inventory of water bodies.
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