Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation Current Affairs - 2019

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Centre sets target to provide Clean Drinking Water to all by 2024

The Central government has set a target of providing clean drinking water to all by 2024. It includes increasing coverage of piped water to households from current 18 to 100% by 2024.

Water Status in India

  • Over the years per capita availability of water has fallen drastically. From 5,000 litre per capita availability of water in 1950 we now only have nearly 1,400 litre per capita availability of water. Thus even though the population has increased three times since 1950, per capita availability of water has reduced considerably and is about one-third (33%) of that amount now.
  • In states like Uttar Pradesh (UP), Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Odisha and West Bengal (WB) the coverage of clean drinking water is less than 5%. It is only in Sikkim that 99% of households get tapped water.

About the Clean Drinking Water to All 2024

  • Need: With almost all of rural India depending on monsoon for agricultural and domestic purposes, there is a desperate need for viable water management and conservation so as to end the water woes in the country.
  • Citing the widening gap between water supply and demand, newly constituted Jal Ministry notified that apart from increasing coverage of piped water to households’ emphasis will also be laid on water conservation.
  • Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, Union Minister of Jal Shakti recently held discussions with officials and Ministers from several states looking after water-related issues.
  • Way Forward: As per the 7th Schedule of Indian Constitution, Water is a State Subject under Entry 17 in State List, thus collective efforts and a public movement is needed to achieve the desired target.

About Jal Ministry

  • It has been newly created in the second term of the Modi government. It has been made by reorganising Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation, which was held by Nitin Gadkari in previous Modi government (2014-2019). The Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation has also been added to it Jal Ministry.
  • This Ministry will cater to many aspects relating to water such ensuring clean water and top class irrigation water facilities for farmers.

Government  forms new ‘Jal Shakti’ Ministry

The Centre has created a new Ministry called ‘Jal Shakti’ by merger of Ministries of Water Resources, River Development & Ganga Rejuvenation along with Drinking Water and Sanitation. The move will bring all aspects of water management and regulation under one department.

About Jal Ministry

  • Background: In first Modi government (2014-2019) the project to clean Ganga was moved from Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) to Ministry of Water Resources. Later, with a greater push and larger monetary allocation, the Namami Gange project was launched in June 2014. During the 17th Lok Sabha election campaign, Prime Minister Narendra Modi promised to create an integrated ministry to deal with water related isuues.
  • Minister: The Jal ministry will be headed by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP Gajendra Singh Shekhawat while Ram Lal Kataria will be the minister of state.
  • Ambit:
    • As promised in BJP’s vision document in run-up to the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, the ‘Nal se Jal’ scheme to provide piped drinking water to every household will be a component of government’s Jal Jivan Mission.
    • The ministry will roll out government’s ambitious plans to provide piped water connections to every household in India by 2024.
    • It will also address international and inter-states water disputes and the Namami Gange project which is the flagship initiative to clean the River Ganga, its tributaries and sub-tributaries.
    • The Jal Ministry’s priority will be to provide clean drinking water to everyone.