No proposal to make right to water a fundamental right: Jal Shakti minister

[] There is no proposal to make access to potable water a fundamental right, Jal Shakti minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat has clarified

The government is not considering any proposal to make access to potable water a fundamental right, union Jal Shakti minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat informed the Lok Sabha during Question Hour, on November 21, 2019, while replying to a question raised by BJP member Hema Malini. However, Shekhawat said the government had initiated a scheme, to provide piped water to every rural household. The government is going to spend substantially on the Jal Jeevan Mission, he said.

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In reply to another question, Shekhawat said that the government was actively considering Interlinking of Rivers (ILR) programme, as one of the interventions for sustainable management of water resources in the country. Under the National Perspective Plan (NPP) for water transfer from water surplus basins to water-deficit basins, the National Water Development Agency (NWDA) has identified 30 links (16 under Peninsular Component and 14 under Himalayan Component) for preparation of feasibility reports, he said. The implementation of the NPP is likely to raise the ultimate irrigation potential through surface and ground water resources from 140 million Ha to 175 million Ha, generation of 34 million KW of power, apart from the incidental benefits of water supply, flood control, drought mitigation, navigation, fisheries, salinity and pollution control, etc.

Jal Shakti Abhiyan: 21 new ponds to be dug in Gautam Buddh Nagar

The Gautam Buddh Nagar administration has said that it will dig 21 new ponds under the Jal Shakti Abhiyan, while the private sector will help in the renovation of 1,000 ponds

July 31, 2019: The Gautam Buddh Nagar administration, on July 30, 2019, said it is digging up 21 new ponds under the Jal Shakti Abhiyan, while the private sector is also chipping in, with renovation work on scores of the 1,000 ponds present in the district. Last week, district magistrate Brajesh Narain Singh had circulated a list of 1,000 ponds, as per the revenue records, which was sent to various departments for vetting. These departments were asked to share their plans, under the Jal Shakti Abhiyan.

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“Request was also made to the private sector to take up some (ponds) under CSR (corporate social responsibility). I am happy to inform that the district administration will take up the digging of 21 new ponds,” Singh said. “HCL Technology has committed itself for the renovation of 51 ponds, while UFlex has taken up work for nine. Many more private players are showing their interest for the campaign,” he added.

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The DM said these projects are besides what local authorities will take up and requested all those who want to contribute, either as per legal requirement or voluntarily, to pick up projects quickly, keeping the end date for the campaign in mind. “This Jal Shakti Abhiyan will continue up to September 15, 2019,” he said.

Per capita water availability declines from 1,816 cubic metres to 1,544 cubic metres

The per capita availability of water has declined from 1,816 cubic metres in 2001 to 1,544 cubic metres in 2011, according to documents with the NITI Aayog

July 16, 2019: The per capita water availability has declined to 1,544 cubic metre in 2011 from 1,816 cubic metre in 2001, Jal Shakti minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat told the Rajya Sabha, on July 15, 2019. He stressed on the conservation of monsoon rains, to overcome water shortage in the country. “Water conservation is everyone’s responsibility,” he said, while replying to supplementaries during Question Hour. “According to NITI Aayog’s documents ‘Strategy for New India @75’ due to growing population, the per capita water availability in the country has decreased from 1,816 cubic metre in 2001 to 1,544 cubic metre in 2011,” the minister said.

The water conservation issue needs to be converted into mass movement by creating awareness, the minister added. Shekhawat said in many countries, sewage water is being recycled to make potable water but there is no such need in India. “Water is a state subject and planning, funding, implementation and maintenance of water supply schemes, are primarily the responsibility of the state governments, he said in written reply.

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Shekhawat highlighted steps taken by the central government to mitigate hardship of people to access potable water. He said an advisory was issued by the Department of Drinking Water and Sanitation in May 2019, to states on water conservation and to meet drinking water requirements of rural areas on priority, during scarcity. “Further, cabinet secretariat, vide its letter dated May 29, 2019 addressed to selective states, recommended action plans for dealing with drought-like situation,” he added.

“As announced in the union budget speech 2019-20, it has been envisaged to ensure piped water supply to all rural households by 2024 under the Jal Jeevan Mission. “This programme will focus on integrated demand and supply side management of water at the local level, including the creation of local infrastructure for source sustainability like rainwater harvesting, groundwater recharge and management of household wastewater for reuse in agriculture,” he added. The Jal Jeevan Mission would converge with other central and state government Schemes, to achieve its objectives of sustainable water supply management across the country, the minister said.

Jal Shakti Abhiyan: Government launches water conservation campaign

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With several parts of India reeling under water scarcity, the central government has launched a water conservation campaign, ‘Jal Shakti Abhiyan’, that will run through the monsoon season

July 2, 2019: With parts of India reporting water shortage, union Jal Shakti minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, on July 1, 2019, launched a conservation campaign focussing on 1,592 stressed blocks in 256 districts. The ‘Jal Shakti Abhiyan’ will be centred around 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, said drinking water sanitation secretary Parmeswaran Iyer.

The campaign will run through citizen participation, during the monsoon (July 1-September 15). An additional phase-2 will run from October 1 to November 30, for states receiving the north-east retreating monsoons, Iyer said. Officers from the central government, led by additional secretaries and joint secretaries, have been assigned to these 256 districts, he said. The district administration will also nominate two members to join these teams.

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“At a time, when half the country is water stressed, time is apt to run this campaign, so we do not become a country facing water scarcity,” Shekhawat said. The government aims at providing drinking water to every household on priority and in a sustainable manner, he said. The minister said the Jal Shakti Abhiyan should bring positive change in people, for water conservation. The conservation efforts will be supplemented by initiatives like developing block and district water conservation plans and ‘krishi vigyan kendra melas’ to promote efficient water use for irrigation and better crop choices. A large-scale communication 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.

In urban areas, plans with time-bound targets will be developed, for waste water 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, he said.

The government plans to run a water conservation campaign, similar to the Swachch Bharat Abhiyan, with prime minister Narendra Modi, on June 30, 2019, pitching for conservation of rainwater, saying there is a pressing need to make it a mass movement, on the lines of the cleanliness drive. Iyer said K Vijay Raghvan, principal scientific adviser to the Prime Minister, will be involved in special scientific interventions during the campaign.

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Category: Lifestyle

Debora Berti

Università degli Studi di Firenze, IT

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