Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday launched the Atal Bhujal Yojana for better management of groundwater, stressing on the need to use technology which helps prevent wastage of water in various spheres, including agriculture.
The scheme is expected to benefit nearly 8,350 gram panchayats in 78 districts in Gujarat, Haryana, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh.
The scheme, also known as ‘Atal Jal’, will promote panchayat-led groundwater management and behavioural change with a primary focus on demand-side management.
The scheme is aimed at contributing towards the goal of doubling farmers’ incomes, promoting participatory groundwater management, improving water use efficiency on a mass scale, improving cropping pattern and promoting efficient and equitable use of groundwater resources and behavioural change at the community level, the statement added.
The scheme has two major components — one is institutional strengthening and capacity building for sustainable groundwater management in the states including improving monitoring networks, capacity building, strengthening of water user associations.
The second component is incentivising the states for achievements in improved groundwater management practices namely data dissemination, preparation of water security plans, implementation of management interventions through the convergence of ongoing schemes, adopting demand-side management practices, etc.
Groundwater contributes to nearly 65 per cent of the total irrigated area of the country and nearly 85 per cent of the rural drinking water supply.
He also named Rohtang passageway as Atal Tunnel to mark the 95th birth anniversary of former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
(With inputs from New Agency)