New Delhi, On the 95th birth anniversary of former Prime Minister late Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Prime Minister Narendra Modi here on Wednesday launched Atal Bhujal Yojana (ATAL JAL) to conserve and recharge groundwater.
The scheme has been designed with the principal objective of strengthening the institutional framework for participatory groundwater management and bringing about behavioral changes at the community level for sustainable groundwater resource management in seven states--Gujarat, Haryana, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh, a statement said.
Addressing the gathering here, the Prime Minister said both Union and State Governments will spend Rs 3.5 lakh crore in the next five years on the scheme. Mr Modi said that the subject of water was very important to Vajpayee and very close to his heart. 'Our Government is striving to implement his vision," he stated.
Atal Jal Yojana or the guidelines related to the Jal Jeevan Mission, are big steps in proving the resolve to deliver water to every household in the country by 2024, the PM said.
He said that on one hand, Jal Jeevan Mission, will work towards delivering piped water supply to every house, and on the other hand Atal Jal Yojana, will pay special attention to those areas where groundwater is very low.
'This water crisis is worrying for us as a family, as a citizen and as a country also it affects development. New India has to prepare us to deal with every situation of water crisis. For this, we are working together on five levels,' he said.
Mr Modi emphasized that water-related schemes should be made according to the situation at every village level. This has been taken care while making the guidelines of the Jal Jeevan Mission, Mr Modi said.
He requested the people of every village to make a water action plan and create a water fund. Farmers should make a water budget where groundwater is very low.
Implementation of the scheme is expected to benefit nearly 8,350 Gram Panchayats in 78 districts in these states. ATAL JAL will promote panchayat-led ground water management and behavioural change with primary focus on demand side management.
To incentivise gram panchayats to perform better in water management, the Prime Minister said that a provision has been made in the Atal Jal Yojana, in which better performing gram panchayats, will be given more allocation.
He said that in 70 years, only 3 crore out of 18 crore rural households have access to piped water supply.
'Now our Government has set the target to deliver clean drinking water to 15 crore homes in the next five years through pipes,' the Prime Minister added.
In another development, Mr Modi named the Strategic Tunnel under Rohtang Pass as Atal Tunnel.
The tunnel will connect Manali, Himachal Pradesh with Leh, Ladakh and Jammu Kashmir.
The Prime Minister said that this strategic tunnel will change the fortunes of this region. It will help in promoting tourism in the region.