Modi flags off groundwater scheme

Part of Centre's water push along with plan to connect households to pipe network

By DTE Staff
Published: Wednesday 25 December 2019
Modi launches Atal Jal Yojana. Photo: @narendramodi / Twitter

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on December 25, 2019 launched a scheme to conserve ground water in regions with low water tables. The scheme, along with his government’s already declared plan to pipe water to a large number of households, seems part of the focus on water that Modi after winning the May Lok Sabha elections.

The Union Cabinet sanctioned Rs 6,000 crore for the scheme, Atal Bhujal Yojana (AJY), on Dec 24, 2019, An equivalent amount was approved by the World Bank, the Union Ministry of Jal Shakti — India’s renamed water resources ministry — Minister of State for Jal Shakti & Social Justice and Empowerment Rattan Lal Kataria told Lok Sabha on Dec 12.

He had said the scheme “envisages”:

  • Community participation eg, “formation of Water User Associations”
  • Monitoring and dissemination of data
  • Water budgeting
  • Panchayat-level plans
  • Information, Education & Communication (IEC) activities

The same was repeated by Modi, more or less, on Christmas Day. AJY and the guidelines for Jal Jeevan Mission (launched earlier for piped water) were big steps in the plan in the effort to deliver water to every household by 2024, Modi said.

The new scheme will allocate more funds for Panchayats, he added and urged every village to draft water action plans and form funds.

The scheme is expected to benefit more than 8,000 villages in 78 districts of seven states: Gujarat, Haryana, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh, Modi claimed with Jal Shakti minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat by his side.


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