New Delhi: Network18 on Monday launched ‘Mission Paani’, a pan-India campaign meant to spread awareness on water conservation. CNN-News18 and other Network18 channels through their viewers across the nation will be creating consciousness for the immediate need to save water, along with informing people about the dangerous pace at which the country is losing its life-saving resource.
Congratulating Network18 on its mission, Union Jal Shakti Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat said, “I thank Mission Paani and News18 for joining hands with Jal Shakti Abhiyaan. The mission started by Prime Minister Narendra Modi will soon become a mass movement as more and more people join in.”
‘Mission Paani’ will be a mega crusade against the depletion of water resources in an effort to ensure clean and proportionate water for drinking and other essential purposes.
Elucidating upon the water problems in the country, Shekhawat said, “We only have 4 per cent of the water available to the world. A lot of countries are water secure despite having lesser water than us — Israel is an example. Water management is a problem, not nature.”
Network18’s launch of ‘Mission Paani’ coincided with the commencement of the ministry’s Jal Shakti Abhiyaan — a campaign for water conservation and water security. It will run through citizen participation during the monsoon season — from July 1 to September 15.
An additional Phase 2 will be run from October 1 to November 30 for states that receive the North-east retreating monsoon. The focus of the campaign will be on water-stressed districts and blocks.
Listing the main points in the sector, Shekhawat said, “The misuse of ground water is definitely a challenge, but not replenishing it is a bigger problem.”
Shekhawat identified agriculture as the biggest consumer of water and stressed on the need to shift to pulses and millets. “The largest user of water is agriculture. We are far behind water productivity. We use five times the water that other countries use for the same amount of crop,” he said.
Deliberating on the same issue at the launch of ‘Mission Paani’, Niti Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant said, “Water is our biggest challenge. One also needs to bring in a lot of technology like geo-tagging and geo-fencing. Once that happens, people will see levels of water going up.” Kant identified governance and community support as the main issues in saving water.
P Iyer, secretary for drinking water and sanitation at the ministry, laid out the Centre’s plans and said water is definitely top of the national development agenda. Iyer was the figure who spearheaded the Swachh Bharat campaign of the Modi government.
On the same show, Piramal Group Chairman Ajay Piramal pointed out the importance of a partnership between the Centre and corporates in order to tackle the problem in the best possible way.
“India is suffering its worst water crisis in its history. The worst cities are in India. I would applaud what the PM and Network18 have done. We need to partner with the government. Only then can you achieve the scale at which work is required,” he said.
Iyer said that communication is an aspect where both corporates and the media can help spread the message. “Secondly, the corporates can help us with young professionals,” he said.
Bollywood actor Anupam Kher said, “There should come a time when each one of us should become a water warrior.”
Biocon Chairperson Kiran Majumdar Shaw also welcomed the initiative. “Water needs to be conserved in every way. Rain water harvesting needs to be invested in very seriously. We have a lot of rain every year but most of that gets washed away to the sea, so we need to conserve surface water,” she said.
The Centre’s seriousness towards the issue can be ascertained from the fact that Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in his Mann Ki Baat address on Sunday, gave a clarion call to citizens to join hands for water conservation and create a ‘jan andolan’ (public movement) along the lines of the Swachh Bharat Mission to save water and secure the future.
The government aims to provide drinking water to every household on priority basis and in a sustainable manner by 2022.
Shekhawat also said that the Jal Shakti Abhiyan should bring positive change in people for water conservation. Mentioning the impact of Modi’s recent letter to more than 2.3 lakh sarpanchs, Shekhawat said it will help people work towards rain water harvesting, maintenance, and upkeep of ponds and village tanks and conservation of water.
“No resource is an endless resource,” said Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev.