Miss Arushi Jain, Project Lead Sar­va­Gu­naushdhi Pvt. Ltd.

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World Bank ap­proves Rs. 6,000 crore Atal Bhu­jal Yo­jana

The World Bank has ap­proved Atal Bhu­jal Yo­jana (ABHY), a Rs.6000 crore Cen­tral Sec­tor Scheme of the Min­istry of Wa­ter Re­sources, River De­vel­op­ment and Ganga Re­ju­ve­na­tion. The scheme is to be im­ple­mented over a pe­riod of five years from 2018-19 to 2022-23, with World Bank as­sis­tance. The scheme pro­posal has al­ready been rec­om­mended by the Ex­pen­di­ture Fi­nance Com­mit­tee and the Min­istry will be seek­ing Cabi­net ap­proval for the project shortly. Atal Bhu­jal Yo­jana has been for­mu­lated by the Min­istry to ad­dress the crit­i­cal­ity of ground wa­ter re­sources in a ma­jor part of the coun­try. The scheme 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% 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. Funds un­der the scheme will be pro­vided to the states for strength­en­ing the in­sti­tu­tions re­spon­si­ble for ground wa­ter gov­er­nance, 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 scheme will also fa­cil­i­tate con­ver­gence of on­go­ing Gov­ern­ment schemes in the states by in­cen­tiviz­ing their fo­cussed im­ple­men­ta­tion in iden­ti­fied pri­or­ity ar­eas. Im­ple­men­ta­tion of the scheme is ex­pected to ben­e­fit nearly 8350 Gram Pan­chay­ats in 78 dis­tricts in th­ese states. Funds un­der the scheme will be made avail­able to the par­tic­i­pat­ing states as Grants. En­sur­ing ac­tive com­mu­nity par­tic­i­pa­tion in ground­wa­ter man­age­ment is among the ma­jor ob­jec­tives of the scheme. The scheme en­vis­ages ac­tive par­tic­i­pa­tion of the com­mu­ni­ties in var­i­ous ac­tiv­i­ties such as for­ma­tion of Wa­ter User As­so­ci­a­tions, mon­i­tor­ing and dis­sem­i­nat­ing ground wa­ter data, wa­ter bud­get­ing, prepa­ra­tion and im­ple­men­ta­tion of Gram-Pan­chayat wise wa­ter se­cu­rity plans and IEC ac­tiv­i­ties re­lated to sus­tain­able ground wa­ter man­age­ment. Com­mu­nity par­tic­i­pa­tion is also ex­pected to fa­cil­i­tate bot­tom-up ground­wa­ter plan­ning process to im­prove the ef­fec­tive­ness of pub­lic fi­nanc­ing and align im­ple­men­ta­tion of var­i­ous gov­ern­ment pro­grams on ground­wa­ter in the par­tic­i­pat­ing states. The im­ple­men­ta­tion of the scheme is ex­pected to have sev­eral pos­i­tive out­comes like bet­ter un­der­stand­ing of the ground wa­ter regime, fo­cused and in­te­grated com­mu­nity based ap­proach for ad­dress­ing is­sues re­lated to ground wa­ter de­ple­tion, sus­tain­able ground wa­ter man­age­ment through con­ver­gence of on-go­ing and new schemes, adop­tion of ef­fi­cient wa­ter use prac­tices to re­duce ground wa­ter use for ir­ri­ga­tion and aug­men­ta­tion of ground wa­ter re­sources in tar­geted ar­eas.

NABARD Chair­man Dr. Harsh Ku­mar Bhan­wala

Sec­re­tary Min­istry of Agri­cul­ture Shri S.K. Pat­tanayak

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