PM Launches Rs 6,000 Crore Atal Bhujal Yojana Scheme For Efficient, Groundwater

PM Launches Rs 6,000 Crore Atal Bhujal Yojana Scheme For Efficient, Groundwater :- Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday launched a new project for improving groundwater management in 8,350 villages in seven States where groundwater levels are critically low. The Rs 6,000-crore, the five-year-long project will be named after former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and launched on his 95th birth anniversary which fell on Wednesday with the name Atal Bhujal Yojana.

What is Atal Bhujal Yojana?

These villages are in 78 districts in the States of Gujarat, Haryana, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh. It is being designed with the principal objective of strengthening the institutional framework for participatory groundwater management and bringing about behavioural changes at the community level for sustainable groundwater resource management.

Launched in the presence of Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and Jal Shakti Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, Modi said schemes under the yojana would be formulated and executed locally by panchayat level committees. He said, “The scheme will promote panchayat led groundwater management and behavioural change with a focus on demand-side management. Groundwater contributes nearly 65 percent of the total irrigated area in the country.”

What is groundwater?

He further added that 50 percent representation will be given in these committees to women saying that this would help implement them better as women suffer the most from water scarcity.

Urging farmers to switch over to crops that use less water, he exhorted people not to waste the precious natural resource in daily household needs. He urged start-ups to come up with technology to ensure minimal use of water for various needs.

PM Modi said that only three crores out of 18 crore rural households today have clean, piped water. He added that the plan is to provide the remaining 15 crore rural households with piped water in the next five years.

What is aquifer?

The Prime Minister also used the occasion to name 8.8-kilometre long tunnel built below the Rohtang Pass in Himachal Pradesh as Atal Tunnel. The new tunnel is expected to reduce the distance between Manali in Himachal Pradesh and Leh in Ladakh Union Territory by 46 kilometres.

Earlier on Wednesday, in a minute-long montage on Mr Vajpayee that he tweeted this morning, he said, “Many good things can be said about the life of Atal Ji… He knew when to speak and when to stay silent. That’s an amazing power. His silence held more power than his words.”

President Ram Nath Kovind and PM Modi along with other leaders also paid tribute to Mr Vajpayee at Atal Samadhi Sthal in central Delhi this morning. Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and Home Minister Amit Shah were among those who placed flowers as a mark of tribute.