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Historic change in rural India, says Shekhawat

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Historic change in rural India, says Shekhawat

India is committed to achieve 100% cleanliness and also the open defecation-free (ODF) status under Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM), Union jal shakti minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat reaffirmed in an address at the Mint Sustainability Summit on Wednesday. “As we continue to progress in the direction of transforming cleanliness into a sustainable system, today we are witnessing the biggest change in rural areas in the history of independent India,” the minister said in his address, which was delivered on a video link from Bharatpur in Rajasthan.

India is committed to achieve 100% cleanliness and also the open defecation-free (ODF) status under Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM), Union jal shakti minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat reaffirmed in an address at the Mint Sustainability Summit on Wednesday. “As we continue to progress in the direction of transforming cleanliness into a sustainable system, today we are witnessing the biggest change in rural areas in the history of independent India,” the minister said in his address, which was delivered on a video link from Bharatpur in Rajasthan.

The World Health Organization (WHO) recognized SBM-Gramin for averting 300,000 diarrhoeal deaths between 2014 and 2019. Additionally, a UNICEF study highlighted that 96% of women feel safer when they have access to a toilet at home.

Citing reports by WHO and UNICEF, the minister said these measures not only improve well-being but also lead to average annual savings of ₹50,000 per family in ODF villages. “All these facts demonstrate the positive changes and well-being in rural India,” Shekhawat said.

India’s remarkable transformation in rural sanitation access—from 39% in 2014 to 100% today—is the world’s largest behavioural change campaign, he said.

Further, speaking on the development of irrigation and agriculture in India, the minister said that a sound and reliable database for minor irrigation schemes is essential for effective planning and policy making in this sector. With this objective, the government has been conducting census of minor irrigation schemes. So far, five censuses have been conducted between 1986 and 2014. The sixth minor irrigation (MI) census was completed in 32 states and UTs in 2017-18. However, it was delayed due to the Covid-19 pandemic and has been published only recently.

As per the sixth MI census, there has been an increase of about 1.42 million in MI schemes compared to the fifth census. At the national level, both ground water (GW) and surface water (SW) schemes have increased by 6.9% and 1.2%, respectively. Around 23.14 million MI schemes have been reported in the country, out of which 21.93 million are GW and 1.21 million are SW schemes.

Uttar Pradesh possesses the largest number of MI schemes in the country overall, followed by Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Tamil Nadu. In terms of GW only, the leading states are Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Telangana. On the other hand, in SW schemes, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Telangana, Odisha and Jharkhand have the highest share.

GW schemes comprise dug wells, shallow tube wells, medium tube wells and deep tube wells, while the SW schemes comprise surface flow and surface lift schemes.

This report is useful for planners, policy makers, researcher scholars, agricultural and ground water scientists, administrators and all concerned with development of irrigation and agricultural economy of the country.

 

 

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