Cabinet Secretary PK Sinha to review Jal Shakti Abhiyan as droughts, monsoon wreak havoc across country

New Delhi: Cabinet Secretary PK Sinha will review Jal Shakti Abhiyan launched by the government in 1,592 blocks in 257 districts across the country on 2 August, 2019.

The review comes at a time when around 40 percent of the country is facing drought and crores of people are ravaged by massive floods and raging monsoon. Water stress is majorly faced in the southern states and Rajasthan, while monsoon is wreaking havoc in Assam, Maharashtra and Bihar. In this backdrop, all the central nodal officers involving additional and joint secretary level officers, block nodal officers and technical officers along with NGOs involved in water conservation will attend the meeting to assess efforts made on the ground since 1 July.

 Cabinet Secretary PK Sinha to review Jal Shakti Abhiyan as droughts, monsoon wreak havoc across country

Cabinet secretary PK Sinha. Image courtesy: PIB

The government had launched Jal Shakti Abhiyan in two phases — the first phase from 1 July to 15 September 2019, and the second from 1 October to 30 November.

257 additional, joint secretary level officers, 447 deputy secretary and 447 technical officers are involved in the massive time bound peoples movement for sustainable approach to water conservation, which has become a national priority. Each water-stressed district is being supervised by an additional or joint secretary official while 3-5 blocks are being monitored by four officials, including two district officials and a deputy secretary and one technical officer.

The five intervention areas identified by the government for water-stressed districts include rainwater harvesting, renovation of traditional and other water bodies, reuse, bore-well recharge structures, watershed development and intensive afforestation with the help of Jal Shakti Ministry, Rural Ministry, Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs and Ministry of Environment.

As per the documents, the government is using technical resources for real time alerts for workers across all designated districts, with specific interventions to disseminate inputs on land use, change detection in groundwater and analysing improvements in watersheds.

“Create a Jal Vigyan Force of 30,000 scientifically trained community-level workers for outreach and dissemination of intervention across key districts. 36 state science experts, 725 district science experts, 5,500 block science experts, 22,000 village science experts will support immediate implementation of groundwater rejuvenation in 255 districts through data, planning and implementation coordination. There will be special interventions to train field functionaries and farmers on use of efficient crops, cropping system and water conservation as well as micro-irrigation techniques in different crops. Awareness campaign to be held in Krishi Vigyan Kendra with participation of large number of farmers and stakeholders and at least four such programmes to be organized in a month to cover all 1592 blocks (sic),” documents said.

Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs is taking steps to enforce water conservation programme in central, state and urban local bodies, group housing and new structures. The ministry has mandated that treated waste water should be used in agriculture, power plants, industries and other construction activities. Ministry of Environment has devised an action plan with long term perspective for identification and restoration of major wetlands in districts based on its physical condition and critical water sources.

“The officer’s teams are required to undertake minimum three trips (three days each) covering all villages allocated to them. NGOs are involved in community mobilisation with the support of engineering students from local universities and technical institutes,” the government documents said.

Updated Date: Jul 27, 2019 17:04:14 IST