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‘Har Ghar Jal’ By 2024: Sitharaman Offers Solution to Country’s Water Crisis in Budget 2019

In her Budget 2019 speech on Friday, Nirmala Sitharaman said the government would look towards rainwater harvesting and water discharge management to find solution to India's crippling water crisis.


Updated:July 5, 2019, 3:12 PM IST

New Delhi: Access to drinking water is a priority, said union finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman during her Union Budget 2019 speech, while reiterating the newly formed Jal Shakti Ministry's aim of ‘Har Ghar Jal’ by 2024 under the Jal Jeevan Mission.

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Sitharaman said that the government would look towards rainwater harvesting and water discharge management to find solution to India's crippling water crisis. "A total of 1,592 blocks have been identified which are over-exploited in terms of ground water, and government will focus on these blocks," she said.

The finance minister also announced additional funds from Compensatory Afforestation Fund Management and Planning Authority (CAMPA) for the Jal Shakti Abhiyan. The utilisation of CAMPA funds has been a contentious issue and earlier in January, the Supreme Court had directed that funds worth around Rs 54,000 crore be transferred to a new authority created by the Union government for the utilisation by both Centre and state greening activities.

The union minister also stressed on "local infrastructure for rainwater harvesting, management of waste water for sustainability of source" — a key concern flagged by several reports and studies.

Earlier, Jal Shakti minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat had informed the Rajya Sabha that government aimed to reduce the time frame fixed by United Nations for providing tap water to all households in the country from 2030 to 2024.

The minister had also said that emphasis is being laid on improving water level in water-stressed districts of the country and steps are being taken to recharge water by treating wastewater. “Until 'Jal ka Andolan' turns into 'Jan Andolan', things will not improve," he had told the House.

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