Prime Minster Narendra Modi and Union Agriculture and Farmers Welfare Minister Radha Mohan Singh held meetings with the Chief Ministers of 10 drought affected states in May 2016.
States suffering from drought and water scarcity situations are Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Karnataka, Telangana, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, and Chhattisgarh.
Highlights of the meet
• The Chief Ministers were asked to take immediate steps to fight drought and review it on week to week basis. This will help them to fight with challenges like shortage and scarcity of drinking water, conservation efforts and usage of existing water resource optimally and prudently.
• They were asked to periodically review water shortage.
• They were asked to come up with the long term mitigation along with drought proofing measures specific to individual States.
• States were asked to undertake a major drive for construction of farm ponds, adopt micro irrigation and diversify into crops requiring less water.
• The States would promote water storage and water conservation practices and rejuvenate water bodies.
• While promoting dug wells and farm ponds, the State will incentivise solar pumps for irrigation.
• Integrated action plan will be developed for water conservation, desiltation of irrigation tanks, rain water harvesting, ground water recharge, watershed development etc.
• Maintenance of check dams, percolation tanks, lining of canals, prevention of water leakage and pilferage in distribution network will be prioritised
• The chief ministers were asked to prioritize water use and promote recycling waste water & use it for agriculture purpose in periurban areas.
• Special emphasis will be laid down on reviving defunct traditional/historical step wells in different parts of the country.
• All water bodies will be numbered by assigning a unique identity.
• Underground pipelines will be constructed to complete the missing links of canals in command area. This will reduce evaporation losses besides dispensing with the requirement of land acquisition.
• The Union and State governments involving Local Self Government will take short and long term measures to tackle water scarcity. It was decided that preparatory steps for water conservation would be completed before the onset of monsoon.
• District wise Contingency Plans, information on weather, crop advisories will be made available to farmers on ‘mobile app’ in their language.
• Remote sensing, satellite technology will be used extensively for decentralised contour and ridge mapping and for locating ground water resource.
• The culture of seaweed, pearl and prawn culture will be encouraged in coastal areas.
• Beekeeping will be encouraged along the milk route.
• Rain water harvesting on building in urban areas will be made compulsory.
• Apart from crop diversification, the States will consider value addition and promotion of alternate livelihood- dairy, poultry, fishery, bee-keeping, floriculture, timber farming etc.
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