Practice Question 1

Q) One of the biggest challenges of the 21st century is the glawing water crisis. Critically discuss how newly constructed ‘Jal Shakti Mantralaya’ will tackle the challenges of water crisis.

Superb Hints:

• According to the NITI Aayog report, India is the world’s biggest groundwater extractor. As things stand, it forecasts that 21 cities, including Delhi, Bengaluru, Chennai and Hyderabad, will run out of groundwater by 2020; also, 40% of our citizens will have no access to drinking water by 2030.

• The constitution of the new Jal Shakti Mantralaya is the first concrete step taken by the Central government towards a holistic and integrated perspective on water.

• The new Jal Shakti Ministry has begun work by announcing that the government intends to provide piped drinking water to every household by 2024.

• Until now, the institutional landscape for water in India has been somewhat fragmented, with about seven ministries and more than 10 departments having a say on different aspects of water management and use. Not only have these had some overlapping roles and responsibilities, but no single body had the ultimate oversight and authority necessary to resolve conflicting issues and take the necessary decisions. This led to these ministries and departments working in silos.

• Raising awareness and changing perceptions on water also needs to be an important priority. Behaviour change communication initiatives for both internal and external stakeholders will be critical in changing attitudes towards water. All stakeholders, from state governments to citizens, must be taken on board and a national consensus will have to be built.

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