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India: A seven-member parliamentary delegation from Germany led by Volkmar Klein called on the Union Minister of Jal Shakti, Shri Gajendra Singh Shekhawat earlier this month. They discussed avenues for cooperation between the two countries especially in the area of river rejuvenation and providing tap water to all households in India.

Mr. Shekhawat said that India has undertaken the rejuvenation of India’s longest Ganga river in a Mission mode through the National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG). “Rejuvenation of Ganga is a challenging task and we can learn from the German experience in setting a global benchmark in the rejuvenation of rivers such as Rhine and Danube”, he said. “Ganga river runs its course through more than 2,500 km while its basin covers 32% of India’s landmass and is the lifeline for almost 42% of the country’s population”, he added.

Mr. Shekhawat said that ever since Prime Minister Narendra Modi gave a call for eradicating single-use plastic, there has been a significant reduction in single-use plastic. Recently, a rafting expedition covered the entire length of river Ganga and they could hardly find floating trash including polythene.

Mr. Shekhawat apprised the delegation about the ambitious program of Jal Jeevan Mission announced by the Prime Minister from the ramparts of Red Fort on the occasion of India’s Independence Day. The mission aims to cover nearly 146 million households over a period of five years.

Mr. Shekhawat also said that the government of India has undertaken mapping of aquifers for scientific assessment of the groundwater potential of the country. “Under the National Aquifer Mapping Programme, so far 1 million square km has been completed and another 1.5 million sq km will be mapped by March 2021”, he added.

The German side has evinced keen interest in India’s initiative for river rejuvenation and lauded India’s efforts towards creating water sustainability.

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