On the occasion of World Water Day on March 22, 2021, Prime Minister, Narendra Modi launched the ‘Jal Shakti Abhiyan: Catch the Rain’ campaign via video conferencing. The Union Minister of Jal Shakti and the Chief Ministers of Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh inked a Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) to implement the Ken Betwa Link Project, the first project of the National Perspective Plan for interlinking of rivers, in the presence of the Prime Minister. Further, The PM interacted with sarpanches and ward panches in Rajasthan, Uttarakhand, Karnataka, Maharashtra and Gujarat.
Addressing the launching event, PM Modi said on World Water Day, a major step has also been taken for the Ken-Betwa Link Canal along with the introduction of the Catch The Rain campaign. He added this agreement is important to realize Atal Ji’s dream in the interest of millions of families of Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh. Rapid development is not possible without water security and effective water management. The vision of India’s development and India’s self-reliance is dependent on our water sources and our water connectivity, the PM added.
With the increasing development in India, the challenge of the water crisis is also increasing, noted the PM. He said it is the responsibility of the present generation of the country to fulfil its responsibility for the generations to come. He asserted that the government has made water governance a priority in its policies and decisions. In the last six years, many steps have been taken in this direction. He talked about Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchai Yojna, water campaign to every farm – Har Khet ko Paani, ‘Per Drop More Crop’ campaign and Namami Gange Mission, Jal Jeevan Mission or Atal Bhujal Yojana. Work is being undertaken rapidly on all these schemes, he said.
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During his address, the PM also pointed out that to reduce our dependence on groundwater we need to improve our ways to capture and harvest rainwater and thus, the success of campaigns like ‘Catch the Rain’ is essential. He noted that both urban and rural areas have been included in the Jal Shakti Abhiyan. He called upon to step up water conservation efforts in the days leading up to Monsoon.
Also, he stated that to save the country from a water crisis, it is now necessary to work rapidly towards improved management of rivers and their cleanliness. Calling the Ken-Betwa Link Project a part of the vision, the PM lauded both the Governments of Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh for making this project a reality.
Speaking on Jal Jeevan Mission, he said, 1.5 years ago, just 3.5 crore of the 19 crore rural families in our country got piped drinking water. He expressed his content that after the launch of Jal Jeevan Mission, about four crore new families have piped drinking water connections in such a short time. The public participation and the local governance model are at the core of the Jal Jeevan Mission, he pointed out.
While concluding his address, the PM mentioned that rural women have been made stakeholders in this campaign of water testing. During the COVID period itself, about 4.5 lakh women were trained for water testing. Every village is getting at least five trained women for water testing. Better results are a certainty with increased participation of women in water governance.
(With inputs from PIB)