Water being State subject, taking suitable steps to regulate excessive groundwater extraction is States’ responsibility, however a number of initiatives have been taken by the Central Government in this direction.
Some of the important initiatives are given as under.
- Central Government is promoting conjunctive use of groundwater and surface water in agriculture, drinking water and other applications etc through various policy initiatives/schemes.
- ii. Central Government launched Accelerated Irrigation Benefits Programme (AIBP) in the year 1996-97 to provide Central Assistance to States for the major/medium irrigation projects in the country to reduce dependence on groundwater. Further, during the year 2015-16, Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana (PMKSY) was launched with the aim to enhance physical access of water on farm and expand cultivable area under assured irrigation, improve on farm water-use efficiency, introduce sustainable water conservation practices etc., and Accelerated Irrigation Benefits Programme (AIBP) was co-opted in it. Major and medium irrigation projects through surface water sources at various places have been taken up under this scheme.
- Guidelines (with pan India applicability) for regulation and control of ground water extraction in the country was notified by the Ministry on 24.09.2020. Water being a State subject, the guideline advocates for a participatory approach for sustainable ground water management in agriculture sector including working towards crop rotation, diversification & other initiatives to reduce over-dependence on groundwater.
- Atal Bhujal Yojana (Atal Jal), a Rs. 6,000 crore Central Sector Scheme, is being implemented by the Ministry for sustainable management of ground water resources which include activities like preparation of water security plan at Gram Panchayat level in participatory mode by involving communities to use available groundwater and surface water in an efficient manner. The scheme is being taken up in select areas that include 80 districts, 229 administrative blocks and 8,220 water stressed Gram Panchayats of 7 States, viz. Haryana, Gujarat, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh from 01.04.2020 for a period of 5 years.
- Department of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare (DA&FW) is implementing Per Drop More Crop mainly focusing on water use efficiency at farm level through micro irrigation (drip and sprinkler irrigation system) to reduce the extraction of groundwater.
The CGWA is currently regulating groundwater extraction in 19 States/UTs as per extant guidelines and in balance States/UTs the regulation is being done by the concerned States/UTs themselves as per applicable provisions/guidelines.
31,746 NOCs/Exemptions have been issued by Central Ground Water Authority (CGWA) in the States regulated by CGWA between 01.01.2017 and 28.02.2023.
The Ministry has taken action to draft a comprehensive Model Bill for the States/UTs encompassing all matters/issues related to water sector to facilitate water governance by the States.
This information was given by the Minister of State for Jal Shakti, Bishweswar Tudu in a written reply in Rajya Sabha on Monday.