PM Modi launches Atal Bhujal Scheme

For better management of groundwater

Prime Minister Narendra Modi pays tributes to former prime minister A B Vajpayee on his 95th birth anniversary, in New Delhi. (PTI photo)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday launched the Atal Jal Yojana, aimed at improving groundwater level in 78 districts of seven states including Karnataka, a Rs 6,000 crore scheme that will be implemented in the next five years.

Speaking at the launch of the scheme, he said by forming the Jal Shakti Ministry, his government has tried to free the subject of water from a compartmentalised approach to a more comprehensive and holistic one.

Modi said the Atal Jal Yojana will help improve groundwater level in 78 districts, more than 8,300 villages in the states of Maharashtra, Haryana, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Karnataka.

The PM said that on the one hand, Jal Jeevan Mission will work towards delivering piped water supply to every house, and on the other, Atal Jal Yojana will pay special attention to those areas where groundwater is very low.

The Union Cabinet had on Tuesday approved the Atal Bhujal Yojana, also called As Atal Jal Yojana, a Rs 6,000 crore scheme that will be implemented in the next five years, with an aim to improve groundwater management through community participation in seven states.

The scheme will promote panchayat-led groundwater management and behavioural change with a primary focus on demand-side management.

The scheme is aimed at contributing towards the goal of doubling farmers' incomes, promoting participatory groundwater management, improving water use efficiency on a mass scale, improving cropping pattern and promoting efficient and equitable use of groundwater resources and behavioural change at the community level.

Groundwater contributes to nearly 65 % of the total irrigated area of the country and nearly 85 % of the rural drinking water supply.

Of the total outlay of Rs 6,000 crore, 50 % from World Bank loan and will be repaid by the Central Government. The remaining 50 % shall be through Central assistance from regular budgetary support, said a statement from the Jal Shakti Ministry.

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