India: Union Jal Shakti Minister, Shri Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, has announced the commencement of the Jal Shakti Abhiyan – a campaign for water conservation and water security. The campaign will run through citizen participation during the monsoon season, from 1st July, 2019 to 15th September, 2019. An additional Phase 2 will be run from 1st October, 2019 to 30th November, 2019 for states receiving the North-East retreating monsoons. The focus of the campaign will be on water-stressed districts and blocks.
The Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, in his recent Mann Ki Baat address on radio had given a clarion call to citizens to join hands for water conservation and create a jan-andolan along the lines of the Swachh Bharat Mission, to save water and secure the future. The Prime Minister invited ideas, traditional knowledge, initiatives undertaken, success stories, and films made on water conservation from common citizens, celebrities and NGOs alike.
Addressing the media in New Delhi, the Jal Shakti Minister said that the government aims at providing drinking water to every household on priority and in a sustainable manner. The Minister said that the Jal Shakti Abhiyan should bring positive change in people for water conservation. Mentioning the impact of PM’s recent letter to more than 2.3 lakh Sarpanches, the Minister said that it will help people to work for rainwater harvesting, maintenance and upkeep of ponds and village tanks and conservation of water. The Union Minister invited the media to actively participate in these efforts.
The minister also released video of a public service announcement carrying the message of the prime minister for all citizens to join the water conservation efforts in a proactive manner.
Secretary, Department of Drinking Water and Sanitation, Parameswaran Iyer, informed that the Jal Shakti Abhiyan is a collaborative effort of various Ministries of the Government of India and State Governments, being coordinated by the DDWS. He said that teams of officers from the central government will visit and work with district administration in 1592 water stressed blocks in 256 districts, to ensure five important water conservation interventions. These will be water conservation and rainwater harvesting, renovation of traditional and other water bodies/tanks, reuse, bore well recharge structures, watershed development and intensive afforestation. These water conservation efforts will also be supplemented with special interventions including the development of Block and District Water Conservation Plans, promotion of efficient water use for irrigation and better choice of crops through Krishi Vigyan Kendras.
A large-scale communications campaign has also been planned alongside the JSA involving mass mobilization 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.
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