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Jal Shakti ministry to adopt a flexible approach for tackling water issue

Ruchika Chitravanshi/New Delhi 11 Jun 19 | 11:14 PM

The new Jal Shakti (water) ministry will adopt a flexible approach for tackling the water issue and delivering on Prime Minister Narendra Modi's poll promise of “Nal se Jal" (tap water) using surface and ground water, depending on the region, and pushing for conservation and sustainability to balance supply.

Outlining the broad contours of the strategy, Parameswaran Iyer, drinking water and sanitation secretary said, “Water conservation will go together with supply. Delivery will be managed by the community."

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In its 2019 manifesto, the BJP had promised that it would launch the 'Jal Jivan Mission', under which its government would ensure piped water for every household by 2024. The manifesto had added that the government would ensure “sustainability of water supply through a special focus on conservation of rural water bodies and ground water recharge".

The government held a meeting with various state representatives on Tuesday to discuss issues around water availability and local challenges. Speaking on the sidelines of the meeting, Union Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat said, “Water is a state subject but we will provide all the hand-holding required to ensure we improve our coverage of clean drinking water from 18 per cent currently to 100 per cent by 2024."

He said the situation was particularly bad in some states such as Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal, Chhattisgarh and Odisha where the coverage of tap water is less than 5 per cent. “More than 400 million households have to be provided drinking piped water supply," Shekhawat said.

The water minister also asked the states to start a public movement for conservation and promotion of rational use of water.

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