The Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi, on the 14th of May chaired the third round of high level meeting on the drought and water scarcity situation in parts of Jharkhand, Rajasthan and Gujarat. PM this time is meeting chief ministers of 11 drought hit states separately so that both immediate and long term measures to tackle drought can be figured out.
The meetings are attended by senior officials from the Government of India and the respective State governments.
Drought situation in Jharkhand:
Rs 273 crore was released to the State as central share of State Disaster Response Fund (SDRF) for 2015-16. A further amount of Rs. 143.25 crore has been released as first instalment of SDRF for 2016-17.
The State has disbursed Rs. 376 crore to 12 lakh farmers under SDRF, through DBT. Insurance claims of Rs. 53 crore were also settled through DBT.
CM Raghubar Das informed that Jharkhand plans to double its irrigated area from 19 per cent to 40 per cent in the next two years. One lakh farm ponds are planned to be built under the State Plan, and an additional five lakh farm ponds will be built under MNREGA. The State is promoting fishery in the water bodies.
The Chief Minister informed that tenders for the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana have been finalized in the State. The Prime Minister emphasized the importance of regular monitoring of the progress towards implementation of the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana.
The Prime Minister also called for generating a mass movement for soil health cards. He said 'mobilization, momentum and mechanism' are all required to make the soil health card programme a success. He said soil testing should be developed as a skill, and loans can be given for setting up labs through MUDRA.
Emphasizing the use of technology, the Prime Minister called for reporting of assets created by MNREGA, through geo-tagging and uploading of photographs with hand-held devices. He also called for all water bodies to be identified through unique numbers and geo-tagging.
The meeting ended with a resolve on the part of the Centre and State to work together.
Rajasthan's drought situation:
An amount of Rs. 911.64 crore has been released to the State under the National Disaster Response Fund (NDRF), after adjustments of the State balances. This is in addition to Rs 827.25 crore released as central share of State Disaster Response Fund (SDRF) for 2015-16 to the State. A further amount of Rs. 434.25 crore has been released as first instalment of SDRF for 2016-17.
The Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje said that Rajasthan has faced drought for 61 out of the last 67 years. She explained in detail, the difficulties being faced by people in various parts of the State due to the shortage of drinking water.
She informed the Prime Minister about the Mukhyamantri Jal Swavlamban Abhiyan, under which 7 lakh water conservation structures are to come up in four years, including one lakh by 30th June, 2016. The State is using the waters of the Narmada for micro-irrigation.
Gujarat drought situation:
Elaborating on the State's efforts for water conservation, recharge and creation of water bodies, the Chief Minister Anandiben Patel mentioned that 1.68 lakh check dams, 2.74 lakh farm ponds, 1.25 lakh Bori Bandhs have been made with storage capacity of 42.3 billion cubic feet water, benefitting 6.32 lakh hectares.
Piped water supply is being provided to 77 per cent of households in the State. In spite of deficient rainfall for the second consecutive year, the work done for the state water grid has resulted in only 568 tankers being required for water distribution in some remote tail areas. The Prime Minister, while appreciating this effort, called for further action to completely eliminate the need for tanker supply.
The State has made significant progress in micro-irrigation. One hundred per cent coverage of drip or sprinkler irrigation has been achieved in 3789 villages.
The measures undertaken by the State have resulted in a reasonable amount of drought-proofing, despite deficient (about 80 per cent of long-term average) and skewed temporal distribution of rainfall. Despite two successive years of drought, crop production in the State has been estimated at 95 per cent of the normal.
The creation of an elaborate canal network under the Sardar Sarovar Irrigation Scheme, has led to a significant increase in crop yields, and a positive impact on farm incomes.
Mass movement to be generated for water conservation and rainwater harvesting in a comprehensive manner, and said youth organisations including NCC, NSS, NYKS, and Scouts and Guides should be involved in creation of water storage structures.
- Stress on the importance of wastewater management.
- Stress on rooftop rainwater harvesting.
- Figure out global best practices on rooftop rainwater harvesting.
- Traditional water storage structures in Rajasthan (Bavdis) should be revived in a big way through public participation.
- Rajasthan should aim to develop one city as a model, for solid waste management and waste water management, integrating irrigation of the neighbouring rural areas.
The meetings ended with a resolve on the part of the Centre and the States to work together to ensure people do not face water scarcity.