Atal Bhujal Yojana

Atal Bhujal Yojana

Atal Bhujal Yojana

The Central Government has initiated a scheme known as Atal Bhujal Yojana to address the conditions of water bodies across the country. The scheme, which is endorsed and funded by the World Bank, is intended to improve groundwater management and maintain it as a sustainable source. It will be operational for a period of five years from the current period, i.e., the scheme will run its course from 2018-19 through 2022-23. In this article, we look at Atal Bhujal Yojana in detail.

Total Budget Outlay

A total budget of Rs.6000 crore has been allocated for the scheme. The quantum of funds will be mutually shared between the Government of India and the World Bank. These funds will be dispersed to the various states for strengthening the institutions undertaking water governance and encouraging community involvement for improving ground water management, which will in-turn trigger behavioral changes that could pave the way for promoting conservation and efficient use of water.

Moreover, the scheme will be integrated with the current schemes of the Government by incentivizing their focused implementation in targeted areas. The scheme is to be extended to almost 8350 Gram Panchayats across 78 districts.

Objective

The scheme is aimed at improving groundwater management in specific areas of the country through community participation. The areas of consideration include the States of Gujarat, Haryana, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, and Uttar Pradesh; as these states rank higher among the over-exploited, critical, and semi-critical blocks in terms of the groundwater scenario. Also, these states cover the nation’s major groundwater in alluvial and hard rock aquifers and are blessed with varying degrees of institutional readiness and expertise in groundwater management.  One of the stand-out features of the scheme is that it facilitates the beneficiaries to utilize the groundwater from the Ganges.

Aspects of Regulation

The Central Ground Water Authority (CGWA) is vested with the responsibility of regulating groundwater development. Deputy Commissioners and District Magistrates of the respective states and union territories have been licensed to initiate actions under the Environment (Protection) Act, 1936 in the event of any contraventions of the directives prescribed by CGWA.

Community Participation

The scheme proposes to involve the community with activities such as formation of water user associations, observing and circulating groundwater data, allocation of budgets, and so on and so forth. Moreover, the community would be pursuing the formulation and implementation of water security plans for each Gram Panchayat and will actively participate in IEC activities that are connected with sustainable groundwater management.

The involvement of the community is likely to encourage bottom-up groundwater planning process which improves the effectiveness of public financing and align the implementation of other similar initiatives of the government.

The Expected Outcome

The scheme is envisaged to:

  • Provide more awareness on aspects related to groundwater.
  • Render a focused and integrated community-based approach to tackle issues connected with groundwater depletion.
  • Provide sustainable groundwater management through the convergence of current governmental schemes.
  • Facilitate adoption of efficient water use practices that limit the use of water for irrigation.
  • Augmentation of groundwater resources in targeted areas.

Post by Sreeram Viswanath

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