Keeping its poll promise, Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government has launched a new ministry called the "Jal Shakti" to provide safe drinking water to people. Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, parliamentarian from Jodhpur, who defeated Rajasthan chief minister Ashok Gehlot's son will head it.
The Jal Shakti Ministry has been created by reorganising the earlier Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation, which was steered by Nitin Gadkari in the previous government. Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation has also been added to it.
The Jal Shakti Ministry will encompass issues ranging from international and inter-states water disputes, the Namami Gange project - which is a flagship initiative to clean the river, its tributaries and sub-tributaries and provide clean drinking water.
Under the last government of PM Modi, the project to clean Ganga River was moved from the Ministry of Environment and Forests to the Ministry of Water Resources. Later, the Namami Gange project was launched.
Mr Shekhawat said the Ganga river has been cleaned to a large extent inder the Namammi Ganga project and now the priority will be to clean its tributaries and sub-tributaries.
During an election rally in Tamil Nadu, PM Modi last month had assured that if voted back to power, his government would ensure the establishment of a separate Jal Shakti Ministry which will cater to many aspects relating to water.
"The NDA government had devoted a lot of attention to Water resources. There will be a separate ministry for Jal Shakti to ensure clean water and top class irrigation water facilities for the farmers," the Prime Minister had said.
BJP's manifesto had promised to set up a unified Ministry of Water to end the water problems in the country.
From April to July every year, the water situation in at least eight states in the country has been grim. The Centre recently issued a drought advisory to Maharashtra, Gujarat, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, and Tamil Nadu, asking them to use water judiciously in the coming weeks as water storage in dams dropped to a critical level.
(With Inputs from ANI, PTI)