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The Ministry of Jal Shakti, a new ministry under the Government of India was formed in May 2019. It was formed by merging two existing ministries - The Ministry of Water Resources, River Development & Ganga Rejuvenation and The Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation.

This ministry has been formed with the primary objective of tackling India's prolonged battle against mounting water challenges and water resource related issues that the country has been facing over the past few decades.

Initially, the ministry was created with the intention of cleaning up the Ganges river. It is now operating to include any regional or national conflicts between inter-state water sources and rivers that India and other neighboring countries share with each other. A special project called "Namami Gange" was initiated to clean up Ganga and its tributaries in order to provide safe drinking water for the citizens of the region. The ministry has also initiated unique social media programs to raise awareness of water conservation among the citizens of our country.

This ministry is headed by the Minister of Jal Shakti, Mr. Gajendra Singh Shekhawat who is one of the cabinet ministers of the Government of India. The Minister of State for Jal Shakti is Mr. Rattan Lal Kataria.

Primary Functions of the Ministry of Jal Shakti

The Ministry of Jal Shakti, as mentioned earlier, is vested with the primary objective of managing the country’s water resources. They carry out various functions through the following operations:

  • In the water management sector, they are involved in strategic planning, strategy development, coordination and direction.
  • Professional advice, inspection, drainage clearing and monitoring, flood management and multi-purpose (major/medium) projects;
  • Project funding for general infrastructural, technological, and science.
  • Project funding through Central Financial Assistance for specific projects and assistance in obtaining External Finance from the World Bank and other agencies.
  • Complete policy formulation, preparation and direction about Minor Irrigation and Command Area Development, Centrally Sponsored Schemes management and supervision and promotion of Participatory Irrigation Management.
  • General preparation for the production of groundwater supplies, the creation of utilizable infrastructure and the design of strategies for the utilization, monitoring and promotion of operations at State level in the production of groundwater.
  • Formulation of the regional outlook on water production and the assessment of the water balance of various basins / sub-basins for consideration of inter-basin transition possibilities.
  • Coordination, consultation and facilitation over the settlement of conflicts or disputes pertaining to Inter-State Rivers and, in some cases, supervision of inter-state project execution.
  • Ensure successful pollution abatement and rejuvenation of the Ganga River by implementing a river basin strategy to facilitate cross-sectoral cooperation for holistic planning and management.

Organizations under the Purview of the Ministry of Jal Shakti

The Ministry of Jal Shakti operates through a number of standalone organizations set up for specific purposes:

  • Bansagar Control Board
  • Betwa River Board
  • Brahmaputra Board
  • Central Ground Water Board Faridabad
  • Central Soil and Materials Research Station, New Delhi
  • Central Water and Power Research Station, Pune
  • Central Water Commission, New Delhi
  • Farakka Barrage Project, Farakka
  • Ganga Flood Control Commission (GFCC)
  • Narmada Control Authority, Indore
  • Krishna River Management Board
  • National Projects Construction Corporation Ltd. New Delhi
  • National Water Development Agency
  • Sardar Sarovar Construction Advisory Committee (SSCAC)
  • Tungabhadra Board
  • Upper Yamuna River Board
  • WAPCOS Limited
  • NMCG
  • Godavari River Management Board
  • National Institute of Hydrology, Roorkee

Various Programmes and Schemes under the Ministry of Jal Shakti

  • Ganga Rejuvenation
  • Inter linking of Rivers
  • CADWM programme
  • Flood Management Wing Programmes
  • R and D Programme in Water Sector
  • Dam Rehabilitation and Improvement Programme
  • PMKSY - Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojna
  • HRD / Capacity Building
  • Atal Bhujal Yojana
  • National Hydrology Project
  • Farakka Barrage Project
  • Namami Gange
  • Implementation of National Water Mission
  • River Basin Management
  • Flood Forecasting
  • Development of Water Resources Information System
  • Ground Water Management and Regulation
  • Infrastructure Development
  • Assistance for Sutlej Yamuna Link Canal Project
  • Flood Management Programme
  • River Management Activities and Works Related to Border Areas
  • Minor Irrigation Census
  • National Ground Water Management Improvement Scheme
  • Pancheshwar Multipurpose Project
  • Polavaram Project Authority
  • National Water Framework Bill
  • Policy on Sediment Management

Ganga Rejuvenation

The National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) comes under the ministry of Jal Shakti and works with the sole aim of revitalizing our river Ganga. The primary mission of NMCG is to ensure successful pollution abatement and rejuvenation of the Ganga River by implementing a river basin strategy to facilitate cross-sectoral cooperation for holistic planning and management. They also work towards maintaining minimum ecological flows into the Ganga River, with a view to ensuring water quality and environmentally sound growth.

Namami Gange

Namami Gange programme is an integral project within the Ganga Rejuvenation programme of the National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG). Namami Gange project has, since its inception in 2014, achieved considerable progress towards the revitalization of the river Ganga. Some of its achievements are:

  • Creating Sewage Treatment Capacity
  • Creating River-Front Development
  • River Surface Cleaning
  • Biodiversity Conservation
  • Afforestation
  • Public Awareness
  • Industrial Effluent Monitoring
  • Ganga Gram

Inter Linking of Rivers

The Inter Linking of Rivers (ILR) program is of national significance and has been taken up on a high priority. Honorable Minister for Water Supplies, RD & GR monitors ILR development from time to time. This program's goal is to achieve greater equality in water delivery by improving water quality in drought resistant and rain-fed regions.

Under the Ministry of Water Resources' National Perspective Plan (NPP), NWDA has already established 14 links under the Himalayan Rivers Component and 16 links under the Peninsular Rivers Component for inter basin water flow based on field surveys and investigations and comprehensive studies.

The execution of this plan would benefit 35 million hectares of irrigation, raising the total irrigation capacity from 140 million hectares to 175 million hectares and producing 34000 MW of hydropower, apart from the incidental benefits of flood control, navigation, water management, fishing, salinity and pollution control, etc.

Some of the River Interlinking projects under this programme are: 

  • Ken – Betwa Link Project
  • Damanganga – Pinjal Link Project 
  • Par – Tapi – Narmada Link Project
  • Mahanadi – Godavari Link Project 
  • Godavari-Cauvery (Grand Anicut) link project
  • Manas-Sankosh-Teesta-Ganga link

National Water Mission

The National Water Mission (NWM)'s key goal is to "conserve water, reduce pollution and ensure a more equal distribution across and within States through coordinated production and management of water supplies."

The five identified goals of the Mission are: 

  • Comprehensive water database in public domain and assessment of impact of climate change on water resource
  • Promotion of citizen and state action for water conservation, augmentation and preservation
  • Focused attention to vulnerable areas including over-exploited areas
  • Increasing water use efficiency by 20%
  • Promotion of basin level integrated water resources management

Relatively wide temporal and spatial variation in rainfall, and hence in river flow and groundwater aquifers, is a significant aspect of Indian water supplies. Though the effect of climate change on water supplies has not been reliably quantified, numerous reports say that the possible influence of climate change on water resources may lead to further intensifying the extreme events. In addition, water supply characteristics – both abundance and quality can also be greatly influenced by changes in land use in the form of urbanization, industrialization, and forest cover changes.

The likely impact of climate change on water resources could be in the form of:

  • Decline in the glaciers and the snowfields in the Himalayas;
  • Increased drought like situations due to overall decrease in the number of rainy days in many parts of the country;
  • Increased flood events due to overall increase in the rainy day intensity;
  • Effect on groundwater quality in alluvial aquifers due to increased flood and drought events;
  • Influence on groundwater recharge due to changes in precipitation and evaporation;
  • Increased saline intrusion of coastal and island aquifers due to rising sea levels.
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