Government launches new ‘Jal Shakti’ ministry

The new ministry has been formed by merging the Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation and Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation    

By Shagun Kapil
Last Updated: Saturday 01 June 2019
Government launches new ‘Jal Shakti’ ministry. Photo: Getty Images

Fulfilling its poll promise, the government has launched a new unified ‘Jal Shakti’ ministry that is aimed at providing clean drinking water as well as fight India's water woes.

The new ministry has been formed by merging the Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation and Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation.  

“All water related works will be merged under one ministry,” said Member of Parliament from Jodhpur Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, told reporters after taking charge.

He added that the new ministry will encompass issues ranging from providing clean drinking water, international and inter-states water disputes, to the Namami Gange project aimed at cleaning Gang and its tributaries, and sub tributaries. 

Namami Gange was launched under the Ministry of Water Resources as the biggest ever initiative of over Rs 20,000 crore to clean Ganga river by 2020, during the first tenure of the Narendra Modi government.

The ministry had also signed memorandum of understanding (MoU) with 10 other ministries to synergise activities under the Namami Gange, but concerns were being raised over the success of the project.

Shekhawat, however, rubbished the charge that nothing was done under Namami Gange. He said the river has been cleaned to a large extent and his government’s priority will be to clean its tributaries and sub-tributaries.

Meanwhile, PMO India in a tweet on June 1, 2019 said: "'Jal Shakti' ministry takes shape, Prime Minister Narendra Modi fulfills his promise."  

According to Dipankar Saha, former additional director, Central Pollution Control Board, integration of all projects related to water is a good move.

“All water projects are complementary to each other. It’s good to have one ministry to have an integrated data management system. The need of the hour is the creation of water availability data from various resources on both quality and quantity at one platform. In two separate ministries, there is no integration and we will not know where the gap is,” he said.

Modi had in one of his election speeches in Khargone, said that if elected again, the next five years of his government would be dedicated to water.

“After constructing toilets and giving dignity to women, I will focus my next term on ensuring clean drinking water," he had said.

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