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India is home to about 1.3 billion people. Providing access to clean and safe drinking water to all citizens is one of the major concerns for the government. Groundwater is the primary source of water to meet domestic, agricultural and industrial needs. With rapid urbanization and increasing population, groundwater has come under immense strain. The immediate need to address this mismanagement of groundwater gave rise to the establishment of ‘Atal Bhujal Yojana (ATAL JAL)’.
The utilization of groundwater for various purposes is not standardized throughout the country. Out of a total of 6,881 evaluation units (Blocks/Mandals/Talukas/Firkas) in the country, 1186 units in various states (17%) are classified as 'Over-Exploited', suggesting exploitation beyond the annual replenishment capacity of groundwater.
Considering the worrying level of groundwater in India and the need to ensure the long-term sustainability of groundwater supplies in India, Atal Bhujal Yojana has been established by the Department of Water Management, River Development & Ganga Rejuvenation, Ministry of Jal Shakti.
The main goal of the scheme is to improve the national organizational structure for collaborative groundwater management and bring in systemic improvements at the community level for effective groundwater management. Atal Bhujal Yojana has been conceived by the Ministry of Jal Shakti to resolve the criticality of groundwater supplies in a significant part of the country.
The purpose of the system is to enhance groundwater quality in the country's focus areas through community engagement. The focus areas listed under the scheme are Gujarat, Haryana, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh. All these States account for around 25% of the overall amount of over-exploited, sensitive and highly critical groundwater blocks in India. They also protect two main forms of groundwater structures present in India – alluvial and hard rock aquifers – and have differing degrees of institutional preparation and expertise in groundwater management.
About Atal Bhujal Yojana
The scheme is implemented via two specific approaches:
The Atal Bhujal Yojana Scheme can be implemented in different ways in the designated areas. The system calls for the active involvement of the societies in different events, such as
Public engagement is therefore required to promote the cycle of bottom-up groundwater utilization process in order to increase the quality of public financing and coordinate the execution of various policies setup by the government on groundwater management in such participating regions.
These indicators have been established to calculate the incentives to be given to the states:
The execution of the policy is projected to have a variety of successful results.
1. Who are the primary beneficiaries of the Atal Bhujal Yojana?
The Atal Bhujal Yojana covers 7 focus areas chosen specifically for groundwater management - Gujarat, Haryana, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh.
2. How much funding do the states get under the scheme?
The total scheme budget is Rs.6000 crores, which shall be given as grant – in – aids to the states based on their needs and proven results.
3. What is the time period of this scheme?
This scheme was implemented in 2018-19 and is expected to go on till 2022-23, for a total of 5 years.
4. What is the primary objective of this scheme?
The primary objective of the scheme is better management of groundwater resources to improve usage towards drinking use and agricultural needs.
In a country like India, which has a population of 1.3 billion, managing its water resources is very critical to the overall development of the nation. groundwater is an important source of domestic water supply that needs immediate attention. The Atal Bhujal Yojana strives to achieve better groundwater management through incentivizing the states and equipping them with the right tools and resources.
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