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India: With over 5.6 lakh villages, 622 districts, and 30 states/UTs declared Open Defecation Free (ODF) in rural India under the Swachh Bharat Mission (Grameen), Department of Drinking Water and Sanitation (DDWS), Ministry of Jal Shakti organized a two-day National Planning Workshop on ODF Plus and Water Conservation from July 12-13, 2019 in New Delhi. Secretaries-in-charge of sanitation, mission directors and other key state-level officials from 29 states/UTs attended the workshop.

Speaking at the occasion, Rattanlal Kataria, Minister of State, Ministry of Jal Shakti, said, “In 2014, the Prime Minister introduced the Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM) and now, because of people’s contribution, we are moving towards the 100% success of this mission in October 2019. Moving on to the Jal Shakti Abhiyan, just like SBM, we aim to make the Jal Shakti Abhiyan a successful jan andolan, with the help of the people”.

The minister of state then launched the Solid Liquid Waste Management (SLWM) Dashboard, ODF-Plus Advisory and the ODF-Plus & Swachh Gram Darpan Mobile Application to foster healthy competition between states and districts undertaking ODF-plus activities.

The workshop was organized around five thematic technical sessions: Biodegradable Waste Management in Rural Areas, Plastic Waste Management in Rural Areas, Grey Water Management in Rural Areas, Fecal Sludge Management (FSM) in Rural Area and Water Conservation & Rain Water Harvesting respectively. As part of the workshop, an exhibition was also held at ICAR Campus, Delhi, demonstrating various initiatives under ODF-Plus and field visits were conducted with all the participants to highlight the importance of water conservation.

Parameswaran Iyer, Secretary, DDWS, Ministry of Jal Shakti, drew attention to four important intervention areas namely water conservation, source sustainability, piped water supply and greywater management. Speaking at the occasion, he said, “Sustaining the momentum attained through ODF will be our focus and something that we will together work towards. We will scale up solid and liquid waste management with special focus on greywater management. We have come a long way and it has been possible because of all the people who came together to make SBM a Jan Andolan”.

A highlight of the workshop was an interaction with Ayyappa Masagi, Founder and Director, Water Literacy Foundation who presented different methods for rainwater harvesting, collection and water conservation. He spoke of the importance of Grey Water Management and called it as effective as rainwater harvesting for water conservation. He presented Karnataka’s case of ensuring rainwater harvesting, which can be replicated in other states to conserve water and secure a better future for the nation.

The workshop also included presentations and technical sessions from esteemed experts and key stakeholders in the field: Shrikant Navrekar, LWM Expert, WorldBank; Dr. Sudhir Jain, Deputy Commissioner of Rural Development, Madhya Pradesh; Dr. Rajesh Biniwale, Principal Scientist, NEERI, Nagpur; Ms. Avni Lavasa, Deputy Commissioner, Leh District, J&K; Dr. Neelam Patel, Principal Scientist, IARI, ICAR; Sanjay Marwaha, Regional Director, Central Ground Water Board (CWGB), Union Ministry of Water Resources; and Mr. Umakant, Joint Secretary (Watershed Management), Dept. of Land Resources, Ministry of Rural Development.

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