Public participation must for successful water conservation: PM Modi

PM emphasised that all govts should work like a system where there is constant dialogue between different ministries of states

NEW DELHI: Underscoring the importance of people's participation in water conservation, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday called for public participation and coordination among states on water conservation and related issues while addressing the first national conference of water ministers from states virtually in Bhopal. He said: "Attempts by governments alone cannot be successful."

The Prime Minister said: "When the public is associated with a campaign, they also get to know the seriousness of the work. Due to this, a sense of ownership also comes in the public towards any scheme or campaign."

Modi pointed out that the subject related to water comes under the jurisdiction of the states and that the states' efforts towards water conservation will go a long way in achieving the collective goals of the country.

"Water Vision at 2047 is an important dimension of the journey of amrit kaal for the next 25 years," he said.

The Prime Minister emphasised that all governments should work like a system where there is constant interaction and dialogue between different ministries of state governments. He said that planning will be better if the departments have information and data related to each other. Noting that success does not come from the efforts of the government alone, the Prime Minister drew attention to the role of public and social organisations and civic societies in various government schemes and asked for their maximum participation in campaigns related to water conservation.

"The biggest advantage of public participation is public awareness about the efforts being put into a campaign and the money being spent. When people joined the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, a consciousness was awakened in the public as well," he said. Crediting the people of India for their efforts, Modi said the government took up many initiatives, including collecting resources to remove filth, building various water treatment plants and constructing toilets, but the success of the campaign was ensured when the public decided there should be no dirt at all.

Modi went on to explain that promoting public participation does not reduce the accountability of the government and does not mean putting all the responsibility on the people.

The PM said: "The country is constructing 75 amrit sarovars in every district and 25,000 have already been built so far. Mission Amrit Sarovar is aimed at developing and rejuvenating 75 water bodies in each district of the country as a part of the celebration of Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav. Every sarovar will have an area of one acre with a water holding capacity of about 10,000 cubic metres."

He also stressed the need to come up with government policies and bureaucratic procedures to tackle water-related issues at the policy level. Modi emphasised the success of the "Jal Jeevan Mission" as a major development parameter for a state to provide water to every household, saying many states have done well and others are moving in the right direction. "Once this system is in place, we should ensure its maintenance in the same way in the future," he said.

Proposing that panchayats should lead the Jal Jeevan Mission, he said, "Every gram panchayat can also submit a monthly or quarterly report online stating the number of houses that are getting tap water in the village." He highlighted the "Per Drop, More Crop" campaign that began under the Prime Minister Agricultural Irrigation Scheme and stated that over 70-lakh hectares of land in the country have been brought under micro-irrigation so far. Modi asked states to adopt ways where the water budget is prepared at the panchayat level based on how much water is required in which village and what work can be done for it. The Prime Minister also highlighted the importance of the circular economy in the field of water conservation and said the government has laid a lot of emphasis on the issue in the budget.

"When treated water is reused, fresh water is conserved and it benefits the entire ecosystem. That's why water treatment and recycling is essential." He reiterated that states have to find ways to increase the use of "treated water" for various purposes. "By making the Namami Gange Mission a template, other states can also start similar campaigns for the conservation of rivers. It is the responsibility of every state to make water a subject of cooperation and coordination," he added.

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