Modi’s Nal se Jal mission becomes even more pertinent as districts remain parched

By: |
September 30, 2019 5:33 PM

As several districts in India reel under a water crisis due to depleting water levels and irregular rainfall, Narendra Modi government's flagship scheme for its second term Nal se Jal becomes even more important.

Announced in 2019, Jal Jivan mission comes under the purview of a newly-setup ministry called Ministry of Jal Shakti. (Representational image)

As several districts in India reel under a water crisis due to depleting water levels and irregular rainfall, Narendra Modi government’s flagship scheme for its second term Nal se Jal becomes even more important. Conceptualised under the umbrella scheme of Jal Jivan, Nal se Jal is an ambitious mission aiming to bring tap water to every Indian household by 2022. The mission, which is touted as a billions-of-dollars opportunity for investors by research and advisory firm Emkay, however, faces various constraints. Officials from the Jal Shakti ministry themselves are concerned about the lack of actual roadmap to executing the plan.

According to a latest report by The Indian Express, the situation in one of the drought-hit regions of Maharashtra is so severe that over 4,000 new wells need to be dug to tackle the crisis. Of its eight drought-hit districts, 600 wells each will be sunk. Owing to rainfall deficiency of 19-33 per cent, the region is likely to witness an acute scarcity of water starting December. Further, the depleting ground water in some areas, especially the Bundelkhand region of central India, has left the land dry and has caused the men of the area to remain unwedded, a Thomsan-Reuters report said in August.

“In towns and villages across sparsely populated Bundelkhand, home to 20 million people, parents of would-be brides are dismissing the overtures of hopeful suitors, fearing a betrothal could land them in financial ruin,” the news agency reported.

Announced in 2019, Jal Jivan mission comes under the purview of a newly-setup ministry called Ministry of Jal Shakti. However, concerns remain regarding the success of prime minister’s pet scheme as it faces various constraints like finances. “Our discussions with officials across the Jal Shakti Ministry, state water supply and sanitation departments, companies active in the water sector, and others indicate that there is little clarity on the actual roadmap across the chain as of now,” Emkay said in a recent report.

Further, the ministry will also face challenges like actual construction, land acquisition, connectivity and water availability. According to the Emkay report, as the umbrella mission has various branches like Namami Gange, irrigation support and ground water mapping, the Nal se Jal mission may spell success if “investments in other infra sub-sector are paused”.

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