New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday (March 22) launched the ‘Jal Shakti Abhiyan:Catch the Rain’ campaign on World Water Day via video conferencing. On the occasion, the Prime Minister also interacted with sarpanches and Ward Panches in Rajasthan, Uttarakhand, Karnataka, Maharashtra, and Gujarat, said a government statement.
A memorandum of agreement was also signed between the Union Minister of Jal Shakti and the Chief Ministers of Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh 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.
Speaking on the occasion, the Prime Minister said, “on International 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,” adding “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, he said, adding that the vision of India’s development and India’s self-reliance, is dependent on our water sources and our Water Connectivity.
The Prime Minister noted that the challenge of the water crisis is increasing equally with India’s development. He said it is the responsibility of the present generation of the country to fulfill 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 6 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 NamamiGange Mission, Jal Jeevan Mission or Atal Bhujal Yojana. Work is being undertaken rapidly on all these schemes, he said.
The Prime Minister pointed out that the better India manages rainwater, the lesser the country’s dependence on groundwater. “Therefore, success of campaigns like ‘Catch the Rain’ is very important,” he said and 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 upto Monsoon. Emphasizing the importance of sarpanches and DMs/DCs, PM Modi said that the ‘Jal Shapath’ which is being organized all over the country should become everybody’s pledge and second nature, adding “when our nature changes with respect to water, nature will also support us.”
He noted that apart from rainwater harvesting, the management of river water in our country has also been discussed for decades. To save the country from a water crisis, it is now necessary to work rapidly in this direction. He said the Ken-Betwa Link Project is also part of this vision. He lauded both the Government of Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh for making this project a reality.
The Prime Minister said just 1.5 years ago, just 3.5 crore out of 19 crore rural families in our country got piped drinking water. He expressed happiness that after the launch of Jal Jeevan Mission, about 4 crore new families have piped drinking water connections in such a short time. He noted that public participation and the local governance model are at the core of the Jal Jeevan Mission.
The Prime Minister remarked that for the first time after independence, a government is working so seriously with regard to water testing. He pointed out that rural sisters and daughters have been made stakeholders in this campaign of water testing.
During the Corona period itself, PM Modi said, about 4.5 lakh women were trained for water testing, adding “Every village is getting at least 5 trained women for water testing. Better results are a certainty with increased participation of women in water governance.”