The Modi Government reformed the Jal Shakti Ministry on May 31, 2019 by restructuring the ministries of Water Resources, River Development & Ganga Rejuvenation and Drinking Water and Sanitation.
It can be clearly seen that the disbursement for this newly revamped ministries, which was presented in the Union Budget recently, does not quite complement the Centre’s intention to provide clean drinking water to all Indian rural households by 2024.
On contrary to that, the re-elected Government’s ‘Nal se Jal’ scheme does not blend well with the budgetary allocations at all.
Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced that the government would ensure piped water to every rural household of the country under the Jal Jeevan Mission, committing to the vision of “Har Ghar Jal”. However, the planned outlay for the ministry has dropped from Rs 23,938 crore in 2017-18 to Rs 20,016 crore in 2019-20.
With Chennai’s water reservoirs parched, the river Cauvery exhausting, dire situations in Maharashtra and various parts of the country grappling with acute water shortage, more was expected out of this year’s budget. The new budget is expected to solve severe problems of ground water depletion, contamination of water for drinking & agricultural purposes, so on and so forth.
According to a NITI Aayog report, Indian ground water table will run dry in the next 10 years and close to 40 per cent of the country will lack access to drinking water by 2030.
These problems could be solved if only the Centre lowers GST for rainwater management and implement recycling 100 per cent of our liquid waste.
India is not a country with inadequate water resources, but we ought to learn to manage our plentiful water resources more efficiently.
Royal School of Communications and Media
Royal Global University