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Jal Shakti Abhiyan

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  • Difficulty Level : Medium
  • Last Updated : 03 Nov, 2022
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The annual availability of water in any region or country depends largely upon the Geological and Hydro-Meteorological factors but its population determines the water availability per person. Due to the increase in population the spatial variations in precipitation and higher temporal conditions, India’s per capita water is gradually decreasing and the availability of water in some regions is lower than the average of the nation itself, leading to ‘water stress and scarcity‘ in India. 
To cope with this challenge and crisis in the country, Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi launched the campaign for water security and water conservation i.e. Jal Shakti Abhiyan in 2019, under the Ministry of Jal Shakti in about 1592 blocks in 256 districts that suffered the water scarcity and distress.

The Ministry of Jal Shakti was set up in 2019 after merging two ministries- The Ministry of Water Resources, River Development & Ganga Rejuvenation, and the Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation. After the formation of the Ministry, Union Minister Shri Gajendra Singh Shekhawat declared the launch of the Jal Shakti Abhiyan on 1st July 2019.

Jal Shakti Abhiyan

Features of the Jal Shakti Abhiyan 2019:

  1. This Abhiyan was completed in two phases: 
    a) 1st phase– from 1st July 2019 to 15th September 2019 ran through the monsoon season in all the states. 
    b) 2nd phase– from 1st October 2019 to 30th November 2019 which covered the states having retreating monsoon.
  2. This Abhiyan was a result of joint efforts by various Ministries of the Government of India (including the State Governments), with proper coordination with the Department of Drinking Water and Sanitation, under the Ministry of Jal Shakti.
  3.  Jal Shakti Abhiyan aimed on improving the conditions of the districts and blocks facing water distress and scarcity. A team of officers appointed by the Union Government worked in collaboration with District Magistrates of the concerned 1592 blocks in 256 districts facing water problems.
  4. This step was in the direction to make sure that water conservation interventions gave appropriate results. The five major interventions are:

a) Rain Harvesting and Water Conservation 
b) Renovation of conventional and customary water bodies/tanks. 
c) Reuse of water and recharging of structures
d) Watershed development.
e) Intensive Afforestation.

In addition to the above five conservation interventions there were some special interventions which were as follows:

a) Block and District Water Conservation Plan: This includes the Development of Block and District Water Conservation Plans (To be integrated with the District Irrigation Plans).
b) Krishi Vigyan Kendra Mela: which promotes efficient use of water for irrigation (Per Drop More Crop), and better choice of crops for water conservation.
c) Urban Waste Water Reuse: In urban areas, plans/approvals with time-bound targets to be developed for wastewater reuse for industrial and agriculture purposes. Municipalities to pass by-laws for the separation of greywater and black water.
d) Scientists and IITs: to be mobilized at the national level to support the teams.
e) 3D Village Contour Mapping: may be created and made accessible for efficient planning of interventions.

The Government of India again in March 2021 announced the nationwide campaign “Jal Shakti Abhiyan 2′ with the theme- “Catch the Rain, where it falls when it falls” on the occasion of World Water Day (22nd March).  

Features of the Jal Shakti Abhiyan 2:

1) The main aim of the Abhiyan is to conserve and manage rainwater and recharge the aquifers in the country through artificial recharge structures, rejuvenate wetlands and rivers before the onset of monsoon, to be done as a part of the Centre’s target to provide tapped drinking water to every household by 2024.
2) For the effective working of the plan a database is created of all the water bodies present in the country by the process of Geo-tagging. This data collected after the process will be used to create scientific and a district-level database water conservation plan. 
3) Jal Shakti Kendras will be set up in every District Headquarter which will act asKnowledge Centres. It will help in disseminating information related to the techniques used in the conservation of water and will assist people in using various techniques
4) Water Conservation Plan is prepared scientifically using remote sensing images from GIS (Geographic Information System) and NRSA (National Remote Sensing Agency) technology. It will help in the identification of various water bodies and the planning for the Water Harvesting Structures (WHS) in the future. 
5) With the Krishi Vigyan Kendra Melas efficient use of water is promoted for irrigation. It will also help in choosing better crops for water conservation. 
6) Springshed Management Plan is prepared for Western Ghats, Eastern Ghats, Aravallis, Himalayas, and other mountain ranges in the country for water security in the mountainous regions. 
7) The total amount used is almost Rs.14,000 crore for water conservation-related work either completed or ongoing under the MGNREGS (Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme) of the Department of Rural Development.

Steps Required for the Smooth Completion of the Abhiyan and Water Conservation at Various levels include: 

  • Communication should be made effective among all stakeholders.
  • Launch of various Awareness Campaigns on Water Conservation and Security.
  • Good Governance must enshrine the principles of Transparency and Accountability.
  • Investments should be made in creating the necessary infrastructure and developing the skills.
  • Adoption of various innovative approaches for various sustainable operations and maintenance.
  • Involvement of Communities at various levels, for eg: the creation of the Sanitation and Water Committee under various Gram Panchayats would help to reach the Abhiyan at the grass root levels.

Jal Shakti Abhiyan, one of the biggest Water Management programs has the potential to solve the biggest problem in the country through the productive use of Scientific Technologies and Water Harvesting methods. The plan needs to be implemented via a Community-driven approach that promotes local participation imbibing the spirit of ‘Sabka Sath Sabka Vikas‘. India being a tropical country is at greater risk due to the Water Scarcity being accelerated by climate change. Hence a program focused on the integrated needs of Water Management at the local, State and National levels is of utmost importance

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