Key to raising India's groundwater resources
GS Paper - 1 Geography
As water remains a major global challenge with more than half of India's population living in towns and cities than in rural areas, one year after it kicked off, the Central government's Atal Bhujal Yojana (Atal Jal) has played a key role so far in pursuit of its five-year mission to increase the capacity of country's ground water resource.
- This unique scheme aims at increasing the capacity of states to manage their ground water resources and for ensuring their long-term sustainability with active participation of the local communities through a mix of top-down and ground-up approaches.
- The scheme focuses on community participation and demand side interventions for sustainable ground water management in identified water stressed areas of seven states in the country -- Gujarat, Haryana, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh.
- The scheme, partly funded by the World Bank, was launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 25 December, 2019. Its implementation began from 1 April last year.
- It is also expected that the scheme will contribute to the Prime Minister's goal of doubling farmers' income and to result in optimal use of groundwater by the stake-holders in the long-run.
- In the last one year, the scheme has managed to sign Memorandum of Association (MoA) with all seven states, and funds to the tune of Rs 24.05 crore under Institutional Strengthening and Capacity Building Component has been released to four states-- Gujarat, Haryana, Karnataka and Uttar Pradesh.
- Besides, National Aquifer Mapping and Management Program (NAQUIM), which studies for aquifer mapping and management plan formulation have also been taken up by Central Ground Water Board (CGWB) under the scheme.
- Several Training and outreach programmes including Public Interaction programmes (PIPs) and Mass Awareness Programme on Rainwater Harvesting have also been conducted so far.
- As a part of the three-tier training programme being implemented by the Rajiv Gandhi National Ground Water Training and Research Institute (RGNGWTRI), a total of 63 training modules of various types (Tier I- 25, Tier II- 22 and Tier III- 16) were conducted during January to November 2020.
- An innovative scheme on Aquifer Rejuvenation has also been undertaken by CGWB in which innovative artificial recharge techniques for aquifer rejuvenation has been carried out in aspirational districts of the states of Maharashtra, Telangana and Andhra Pradesh.