Early Times Report
Jammu, Aug 2: The Union Government has set a target of rejuvenating and reviving about 50,000 water bodies across the country by August 2023 to rise the level of groundwater.
Bishweswar Tudu, Minister of State for Jal Shakti informed the Rajya Sabha that the "Amrit Sarovar Mission" has been launched in April 2022 with the aim to develop and rejuvenate 75 water bodies of size one acre or more, in each district of the country.
With a target of 75 water bodies in one district, 1500 water bodies to be rejuvenated in across J&K.
"This Mission has been launched with a whole of government approach, with the participation of six Ministries/Departments of Government of India, to accomplish about 50,000 water bodies by August 2023", the Minister said.
The mission is to be integrated with the ongoing schemes of the Government of India, and also the mobilization of citizen and non Government resources for supplementing these efforts.
The minister, however, said that revival of traditional water bodies, design, and construction of cost-effective groundwater recharge structures, such as check dams, ponds, farm ponds, tanks, recharge wells, etc. lie in the domain of the state government concerned.
The Jal Shakti Ministry is providing financial assistance to the identified schemes under repair, renovation, and restoration of water bodies component of Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayi Yojana (PMKSY) - Har Khet Ko Pani (HKKP).
"Rejuvenation of water bodies is also a component under water supply sector of Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT) scheme under Ministry of Housing & Urban Affairs.
Further, AMRUT 2.0 was launched in October 2021, with a total outlay of Rs. 2,99,000 crore targets to promote a circular economy of water through the development of a city water balance plan for each city focusing on recycling/reuse of treated sewage, rejuvenation of water bodies and water conservation.
The first census of water bodies has been initiated by the Jal Shakti Ministry in convergence with the sixth round of minor irrigation census (the reference year 2017-18), under the centrally sponsored scheme- "Irrigation Census". The objective of the census of water bodies is to develop a national database of all water bodies in the country.
Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MNREGS) has provisions for public works relating to natural resource management, water conservation, and water harvesting structures to augment and improve groundwater like underground dykes, and earthen dams, stop dams, check dams, and rooftop rainwater harvesting structures in public buildings.
In 2019, Jal Shakti Abhiyan was launched by the Government of India, followed "Catch The Rain" campaign in the year 2021.
The campaign has been taken up in all districts (rural as well as urban) of the country. The main theme of the campaign is "Catch the Rain, where it falls when it falls". Focused interventions under these annual campaigns include renovation of traditional and other water bodies and tanks, enumeration, geo-tagging and making an inventory of all water bodies, removal of encroachments of tanks and lakes, de-silting of tanks, and protection of water catchment areas.