The Vice President of India, Shri M Venkaiah Naidu today called for a ‘Jan Andolan’ on water conservation and underlined the importance of people’s participation to make it a success. India is a vast country and nothing would succeed without people’s participation, he added.
Delivering virtually the inaugural address at the 2nd National Water Awards Ceremony, the Vice President referred to how Swachh Bharat Abhiyan became a mass movement and said he was speaking out of personal experience as he was the Urban Development Minister when it was launched.
“We have many innovative initiatives taken by the honorable Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi. All of them are moving forward with the active participation of the people and involvement of various stakeholders”, Shri Naidu added.
Cautioning said that there was a danger of potable water becoming a scarce resource in the future unless the wastage of water is reduced and water conservation is taken up on a war footing, he stressed that the key message that needs to be taken to people repeatedly is that water is a finite resource and not unlimited.
Pointing out that only 3% of the water available on earth constitutes freshwater and that only 0.5 % of that was available for drinking, he said: “It is the responsibility of each and every citizen to save water and use it judiciously. The need of the hour is to change our lifestyles and make water conservation a way of life”, Shri Naidu added.
Describing water as a scarce natural resource, he said the message for its conservation must be taken far and wide and to every corner of the country. Stating that every drop of water has to be saved, he said “that is possible if everybody understands the challenge before mankind”.
Calling for a sustained mass media campaign to make people aware of the crucial importance of conserving water, he said that schools, colleges, universities, communities, NGOs and local bodies must become active partners in this drive.
Stating that India’s current water requirement is estimated to be around 1100 billion cubic meters per year and that it is projected to touch 1447 BCM by 2050, he said that with rising population, urbanization, industrialization and expanding agricultural activities, the water requirement would continue to increase.
Shri Naidu pointed out that reduced use of water also results in less use of energy required for pumping and supplying water to homes, offices and farming activities. “In effect, it also will also help in reducing pollution”, he added.
Expressing his happiness that the National Water Policy is being revisited to create a robust policy framework for effective water management in the country, the Vice President said that water governance has been placed at the forefront of the country’s development agenda since 2014 and referred to various projects, including the Namami Gange Programme.
He said that Jal Shakti Abhiyan aims at making water conservation a Jan Andolan through asset creation and extensive communication.
Complimenting all the winners, including Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra and Rajasthan for bagging the first, second and third prize respectively, he emphasized that the awards were meant to not only recognize the good work done but also aimed at motivating various stakeholders for effective management of water resources in the country.
Lauding the good work done by the district administrations and panchayats, Shri Naidu said that it showed the growing sensitivity of local authorities towards the preservation and conservation of natural resources. “It is my firm belief that decentralized planning plays a vital role in the planning, execution and management of natural resources”, he added.
The Vice President also suggested to the municipal authorities and other local bodies to make rainwater harvesting mandatory for every new building.
Calling for promotion of watershed development, drip and sprinkler systems for efficient use of water, he said “ Reduce, Reuse and Recycle must be the watchwords if we have to handover a sustainable and liveable planet to the future generations”.
Shri Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, Minister of Jal Shakti, Shri Rattan Lal Kataria, Minister of State for Ministry of Jal Shakti, Shri U P Singh, Secretary, Ministry for Jal Shakti, Dr. Anil Joshi, Environmentalist, Shri Rajeev Ranjan Mishra, DG, National Mission for Clean Ganga, Representatives of award-winning states, organizations and awardees were present on the occasion.