PM to launch Jal Shakti Abhiyan on March 22


Activities to focus on catching the rain-where it falls, when it falls  

Jammu:  The Central Government will be launching Jal Shakti Abhiyan-2021 with a theme to ‘catch the rain’ – where it falls, when it falls; this month on March 22 which will continue till November 30 this year.

The programme envisages rainwater harvesting during pre and active monsoon season through the convergence of various schemes and initiatives of various departments of the Central and State Governments. Carrying forward the achievements of Jal Shakti Abhiyan-2019, the sequel programme will cover all urban and rural areas of the country including 729 districts, 7,195 blocks, 2.55 lakhs panchayats, and 6.64 lakh villages.

In this regard, Cabinet Secretary, Rajiv Gauba chaired a high-level meeting with the Union Secretaries and Chief Secretaries of all States and Union territories. Chief Secretary, B V R Subrahmanyam along with Administrative Secretary, Jal Shakti Department participated in the meeting.

The Cabinet Secretary informed the States/UTs that under the programme, active participation of the people is to be sought for various activities like mapping of water resources, preparing water conservation plans through Gram Sabhas, cleaning traditional water bodies, removing encroachments and obstructions in water channels, and implementing appropriate interventions for water conservation.

The programme will be launched by the Prime Minister on March 22 on the occasion of United Nations’ World Water Day. The launch will be followed by special Gram Sabhas on water conservation and will kick start a host of activities based on large-scale community mobilization throughout the monsoon season.

Jal Shakti Abhiyan will extensively focus on the de-centralized rainwater collection, storage, and utilization to improve soil moisture & vegetation cover, raise groundwater table and mitigate floods particularly in low-lying areas, besides, raising awareness on the importance of freshwater availability, conservation of water resources and ill-effects of degraded and depleting water resources.

Later, in a separate meeting chaired by the Chief Secretary, B V R Subrahmanyam, the concerned departments were asked to plan water-conservation related activities over the next 8 months and ensure people’s participation under the programme. “The focus of such activities is to be on the revival of wetlands, protection of flood banks, rejuvenation of small rivers, and rivulets and conservation of water resources”, the Chief Secretary said.  

The departments were directed to undertake timely initiatives to efficiently capture and utilize the rainwater through district-specific scientific water conservation plan, removal of encroachments around water bodies, de-silting of water channels, repairs of water harvesting structures, and maintenance of check dams/ponds, among others.

To coordinate the activities of various departments during the course of the Abhiyan, the Chief Secretary directed both the Divisional Commissioners to establish Jal Shakti Kendras headed by the respective Deputy Commissioner in every district. The Jal Shakti Department shall remain the nodal agency for implementing the Jal Shakti Abhiyan in Jammu and Kashmir.

Administrative Secretaries of departments of Housing & Urban Development, Agriculture, Forest, Ecology & Environment, Youth Sports & Services, Jal Shakti, and Higher Education besides Divisional Commissioners of Kashmir and Jammu were present in the meeting.