The per capita water availability in the country is reducing due to the increase in population. The average annual per capita water availability in the years 2001 and 2011 was assessed as 1816 cubic meters and 1545 cubic meters respectively which may further reduce to 1486 cubic meters, 1367 cubic meters, 1282 cubic meters and 1228 cubic meters in the years 2021, 2031, 2041 and 2051 respectively.
Assessing this grave situation, Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched Atal Bhujal Yojana or Atal Jal on 25th December commemorating former Prime Minister Atal Bihar Vajpayee on his birthday.
Atal Jal is a World Bank-funded, the central scheme aimed at improving groundwater management. It was approved by the World Bank Board in June 2018.
The Central Ground Water Board (CGWB) is a multidisciplinary scientific organization of the Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation, Government of India. Central Ground Water Board is the National Apex Agency entrusted with the responsibilities of providing scientific inputs for management, exploration, monitoring, assessment, augmentation, and regulation of groundwater resources of the country.
ATAL JAL 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, viz. Gujarat, Haryana, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, and Uttar Pradesh. Implementation of the scheme is expected to benefit nearly 8350 Gram Panchayats in 78 districts in these States. ATAL JAL will promote panchayat led groundwater management and behavioral change with a primary focus on demand-side management
Out of the total outlay of Rs. 6000 crore to be implemented over a period of 5 years (2020-21 to 2024-25), 50% shall be in the form of a World Bank loan, and be repaid by the Central Government. The remaining 50% shall be through Central Assistance from regular budgetary support. The entire World Bank’s loan component and Central Assistance shall be passed on to the States as Grants. (Source: Press Information Bureau)
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