The World Bank has approved Water Resources and River Development Ministry’s Rs 6000 crore worth central sector scheme, ‘Atal Bhujal Yojana’.
The scheme will be implemented over a period of five years from 2018-19 to 2022-23 with assistance from the World Bank. The scheme proposal has already been recommended by the Expenditure Finance Committee and the Ministry will be seeking Cabinet approval for the project shortly.
The scheme has been formulated by the Water Resources Ministry to address the criticality of ground water resources in major country parts.
It aims to improve ground water management in priority areas in the country through community participation.
The priority areas identified under the scheme fall in the states of Gujarat, Haryana, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh.
These states represent about 25 per cent of the total number of over-exploited, critical and semi-critical blocks in terms of ground water in India.
They also cover two major types of groundwater systems found in India, alluvial and hard rock aquifers, and have varying degrees of institutional readiness and experience in groundwater management.
Under the scheme, funds will be provided to the states for strengthening the institutions responsible for the governance of ground water as well as for encouraging community involvement for improving ground water management to foster behavioural changes that promote conservation and efficient use of water.
The funds will be made available to the participating states in form of grants.
Whom will it benefit?
The implementation of the scheme is expected to benefit nearly 8350 Gram Panchayats in 78 districts of states that are facing severe shortage in ground water resources.