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Modi launches ‘Jal Shakti Abhiyan: Catch the Rain’ campaign on World Water Day
New Delhi, March 22, 2021
Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched the "Jal Shakti Abhiyan: Catch the Rain" campaign on World Water Day today via video conferencing.
On the occasion, a memorandum of agreement was 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 of the National Perspective Plan for interlinking of rivers.
The Prime Minister also interacted with sarpanches and ward panches in Rajasthan, Uttarakhand, Karnataka, Maharashtra and Gujarat.
Modi said that 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. Rapid development would not be possible without water security and effective water management.
Noting that the challenge of the water crisis was increasing equally with the country’s development, he said the present generation should 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 past six years, several steps were taken in this direction. These include 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 was being undertaken rapidly on all these schemes.
The Prime Minister pointed out that the better India manages rainwater, the lesser the country's dependence on groundwater. Therefore, the success of campaigns like "Catch the Rain" was very important. Both urban and rural areas have been included in the Jal Shakti Abhiyan. He called upon the people to step up water conservation efforts in the days leading to the monsoon.
Modi said the "Jal Shapath" (water pledge), being organized all over the country, should become everybody’s pledge and second nature. “When our nature changes with respect to water, nature will also support us,” he added.
The Prime Minister noted, that apart from rainwater harvesting, the management of river water in the country has also been discussed for decades. To save the country from a water crisis, it was now necessary to work rapidly in this direction. The Ken-Betwa Link Project was 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 that, just about one and a half years ago, only 3.5 crore out of 19 crore rural families received piped drinking water. After the launch of the Jal Jeevan Mission, about 4 crore new families got piped drinking water connections in such a short time. He noted that public participation and the local governance model were at the core of the Jal Jeevan Mission.
According to him, for the first time after independence, a government was working seriously with regard to water testing.
"Rural women have been made stakeholders in this campaign of water testing. During the COVID pandemic period itself, about 4.5 lakh women were trained in water testing. Every village would have at least fice trained women for water testing. Better results were a certainty with increased participation of women in water governance," he added.