The Mission Paani campaign anthem titled 'Swachhta aur Paani' (Cleanliness and Water) composed by AR Rahman and written by Prasoon Joshi was launched at the Jal Pratigya Diwas event on Thursday.
Various dignitaries, including Vice-president Venkaiah Naidu, Jal Shakti Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, actor and campaign ambassador Akshay Kumar, activist and actor Gul Panag, among others attended the event. They shared their thoughts on the current water crisis in the country, and possible ways to deal with it.
Naidu said while the country had more than 18 per cent of the world's population, it only had 4 per cent renewable water resources. He said a 'Chalta hai' (anything goes) attitude would not help address the "alarming" water crisis India was facing amid the threat of climate change. Shekhawat said India did not have natural water shortage; considering the average rainfall, but faced infrastructural problems which needed to be resolved to supply water to each household. The Jal Shakti minister took the Mission Paani pledge at the event.
The Vice President addressing the Mission Paani-Jal Pratigya Diwas being organized by @CNNnews18 and @harpic_india.#JalPratigyaDiwas #MissionPaani pic.twitter.com/HwEseflDRD— Vice President of India (@VPSecretariat) November 19, 2020
Campaign ambassador Akshay Kumar highlighted the fact that cleanliness amid the coronavirus pandemic could not be achieved without clean water. Talking on the issue, Laxman Narasimhan, CEO Reckitt Benckiser said India also faced a debilitating problem of manual scavenging, which needed to be addressed while ensuring proper care for sanitation workers.
'Swachhta aur Paani'
The Mission Paani campaign anthem was launched at the event, which has been composed by AR Rahman and written by Prasoon Joshi. The composer and lyricist both reiterated the importance of saving water, and said children played a crucial role in the same.
AR Rahman said today's children were the Future of India, and needed to be focussed at fixing many problems that "we adults have messed up".
'World Toilet Day'
The event coincided with the 'World Toilet Day', and aimed to spread the message of ‘Swachhta aur Paani, Aakhir Bachani Hai Zindagani’. The Harpic-News18 Mission Paani campaign was launched last year and has championed the cause of water conservation by raising actionable awareness and lending support to water conservationists across the country. This year, with the initiative’s expanded scope and renewed objective, the aim is to help the nation ensure water availability to our future generations. The campaign now focuses on highlighting the critical components of both water and hygiene and bring everyone together in this mission for a safe and sustainable tomorrow.
World Toilet Organisation's Jack Sim, who has years of work around sanitation to his credit, said a lot of effort was needed to educate people's chain of behavior in India on sanitation and toilet habits. Actor Bhumi Pednekar said that while she had a limited knowledge about the issue of sanitation in the country, working in the film 'Toilet ek Prem Katha' helped her delve deeper into the issue and how water shortage and lack of toilet facilities hit women across the country foremost.
'Hold Leaders Accountable'
Actor and activist Gul Panag said children should be taught from a young age that water is a fundamental and non-negotiable right, and leaders should be held accountable for the provision of this right.
Former US Vice-president Al Gore said everyone in developing or developed nations should realise the importance of conserving clean water, and asked everyone to take the Mission Paani pledge.
Among other leaders who joined the event were Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, who said the campaign would help conserve water in the country, which was facing increased problems of shortage. Goa CM Pramod Sawant also took the Mission Paani pledge at the event.