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‘Jal Shakti Abhiyan: Catch the Rain’ Campaign Launched, Spotlighting Crucial Role of Women in Water Conservation

The launch of the ‘Jal Shakti Abhiyan: Catch the Rain’ campaign marks a significant stride towards gender-inclusive water governance, underscoring the important role of women in shaping a water-secure future for India.

Shivam Dwivedi
‘Jal Shakti Abhiyan: Catch the Rain’ Campaign Launched, Spotlighting Crucial Role of Women in Water Conservation
‘Jal Shakti Abhiyan: Catch the Rain’ Campaign Launched, Spotlighting Crucial Role of Women in Water Conservation

The Union Minister for Jal Shakti, Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, inaugurated the fifth edition of the ‘Jal Shakti Abhiyan: Catch the Rain’ campaign on March 9, 2024, at the NDMC Convention Centre in New Delhi. Themed ‘Nari Shakti se Jal Shakti,’ the campaign underscores the pivotal role of women in water conservation and management. This initiative falls under the purview of the National Water Mission, Department of Water Resources, River Development & Ganga Rejuvenation, in collaboration with the Department of Drinking Water & Sanitation.

A Collective Commitment: 'Jal Kalash' Ceremony

The event commenced with the traditional 'Jal Kalash' ceremony, symbolizing a collective pledge towards water conservation and its sustainable utilization in the future. Attendees were treated to the screening of two short films: "Jal Shakti Abhiyan 2019 to 2023 – A public led movement marching towards Water Security" and "Short films of Jal Jeevan Mission," along with a documentary on Ladakh. Participants included women warriors, Sarpanchs, VWSC members, pump operators from various State Governments, and senior officials from relevant departments and NGOs.

Addressing the distinguished gathering, Union Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat underscored the critical significance of water conservation and sustainable management. He highlighted the indispensable role of water in both our lives and economy, emphasizing that the campaign exemplifies the government's steadfast dedication to these principles, with women at the forefront. The Minister expressed confidence that empowering women would, in turn, empower the nation, lauding their remarkable contributions to successful schemes and campaigns such as Jal Shakti Abhiyan, Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, Jal Jeevan Mission, and Atal Bhujal Yojna.

Women Driving Change:

The Minister applauded the resilience and innovation demonstrated by women, noting their pivotal role in effecting positive change in water resource management. He highlighted the government's commitment to making India a global manufacturing hub under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, acknowledging the consequent increase in water demand and the necessity for effective integrated water management strategies. Shekhawat cited the training of approximately 24 lakh women in testing water samples using Field Testing Kits (FTK) and the representation of at least 33% women in Gram Panchayats under the Atal Bhujal Yojna as concrete steps toward gender-inclusive water governance.

Debashree Mukherjee, Secretary of DoWR, RD & GR, emphasized the burdensome task of water collection predominantly borne by women and the transformative impact of clean water sources on communities. She commended the efforts of stakeholders involved in the Jal Shakti Abhiyan and hailed the central and state governments' endeavors in addressing water-related challenges. Ms. Mukherjee highlighted the success of the Jal Jeevan Mission, with 75% coverage of rural households now equipped with tap water connections. She urged for concerted efforts towards rainwater conservation, groundwater recharge, and clean rivers to ensure the long-term sustainability of piped water supply schemes.

The event featured inspiring narratives from women water warriors hailing from diverse backgrounds, sharing their experiences, challenges, and triumphs in spearheading water conservation efforts. Their stories serve as a beacon of inspiration, illuminating the transformative impact women wield in fostering sustainable water practices.

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