NEW DELHI: The National Level Steering Committee (NLSC) decided on Friday to extend the Atal Bhujal Yojana (Atal Jal), India's central sector water conservation programme for two years beyond its original 2025 end date. The extension intends to advance community behaviour change programmes while making up for implementation delays brought on by COVID-19.
Atal Jal was first introduced in 2020 and is now operational in 80 districts of seven Indian states, including Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh, and 8,220 Gramme Panchayats that are water-stressed. Its main goal has been to influence local attitudes towards water management and conservation.
The committee members reviewed the project's overall development during their meeting on Friday and urged state officials to speed up all associated activities. The importance of strong community capacity building and the incorporation of water security plans into Gramme Panchayat Development Plans were stressed by Special Secretary Debashree Mukherjee.
The programme supports creative irrigation methods in addition to conservation measures to improve water efficiency. The Department of Water Resources' Pankaj Kumar urged the states to map their sources of drinking water and research their sustainability.
The Practise Manager for the World Bank praised Atal Jal for its important contribution to encouraging water usage efficiency and vowed to support the programme wholeheartedly. The programme has already led to the adoption of numerous effective practises in all of the participating states, with a focus on demand-side interventions and groundwater recharge.
To make the most use of its resources, Atal Jal also aims to bring together several line departments working on water-related issues. The programme aims to implement effective water management practises, such as drip irrigation and crop diversification, on 450,000 hectares of irrigated land. Predetermined targets will be used to gauge the project's success, and states that perform well will be eligible for further financial incentives.
Aboaut Atal Bhujal Yojana: The Atal Bhujal Yojana (ABY) is a scheme initiated by the Government of India to address the issues related to groundwater depletion and promote sustainable groundwater management in the country. The scheme was launched by the Ministry of Jal Shakti (Department of Water Resources, River Development, and Ganga Rejuvenation) in December 2019.
The primary objective of the Atal Bhujal Yojana is to ensure the sustainable management of groundwater resources in identified water-stressed areas of the country. It aims to involve local communities in the planning and implementation of groundwater management practices to achieve long-term sustainability.
Under this scheme, priority is given to the areas that are facing a high level of groundwater depletion or have a significant reliance on groundwater resources. The scheme adopts a participatory approach, where local communities, including farmers, water user associations, and other stakeholders, are actively involved in the decision-making processes.
The Atal Bhujal Yojana is a collaborative effort between the central government, state governments, and local communities. It provides financial assistance to the participating states and Union Territories for implementing the various activities outlined under the scheme. The scheme is named after the former Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, who was known for his emphasis on water conservation and management. Through the Atal Bhujal Yojana, the Indian government aims to address the critical issue of groundwater depletion and ensure sustainable water resources for future generations.