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Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, Minister of Jal Shakti Ministry, Government of India

New Delhi: The President of India, as advised by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi, today directed the allocation of portfolios among the various members of the Union Council of Ministers.

Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, the Member of Parliament from Jodhpur (Rajasthan), has been allocated the portfolio of Jal Shakti Ministry in the 17th Lok Sabha.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had promised, during his recent election campaign, that the access to safe drinking water would be a primary focus area for the new government in its second term. The newly formed “Jal Shakti” ministry is a development in the same direction.

Gajendra Singh Shekhawat is the new MP from Jodhpur city of Rajasthan state. In the recently held general elections, he won against Vaibhav Gehlot, son of Rajasthan Chief Minister, Ashok Gehlot.

As per his promise made during these general elections, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has introduced this new ministry – Jal Shakti. He had said, during different phases of his election campaign, that the access to safe drinking water would be a prime initiative of his government in its second term.

During the last interim budget as well, the government had indicated that it would create a new ministry for Jal Shakti when it returned to power after the general elections.

Currently, there are several ministries with varying roles for water, sanitation, drinking water and river management which results policy delays and lack of coordination.

The government has now planned to create this new ministry by combining the earlier Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation; and the Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation.

The new ministry is expected to pay special focus on ensuring clean water for people and irrigation water facilities for the farmers. The plans of inter-linking the rivers in India might also get significant with this new development.

As per the NITI Aayog report, 600 million Indians face high-to-extreme water stress, while 75% households do not have drinking water facility with them. Around 2 lakh people die every year because of inadequate access to safe water. One of the promises made in BJP’s manifesto was to provide a piped water connection to every household by 2024.

Clearly, the new government wants to be seen taking immediate steps in this direction.

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