Jaipur: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday flagged water security as a major concern and called for the revival of the country’s “emotional connection” with nature, what he said the world’s calls “sustainable development”.
Modi was launching the Jal Jan Abhiyan, a joint nationwide campaign by Brahma Kumaris, an organisation which promotes spirituality, and the Union Jal Shakti Ministry.
The prime minister addressed the event through video conference at the Brahma Kumaris’ Abu Road headquarter in Rajasthan’s Sirohi district.
He said conserving water should be a collective concern, and raised concerns over water pollution and the depletion of groundwater.
The awareness campaign will be held across the country for eight months, targeting 10 crore people.
“Due to such a large population, water security is an important concern for India. It is a shared responsibility of all of us,” he said.
“There shall be a tomorrow only if there is water, and for this we have to make joint efforts from today,” Modi said.
He said water conservation has been a part of India’s spirituality for thousands of years. “That’s why we term water as god, call rivers mother.”
“When a society makes such an emotional connect with nature, the world calls it sustainable development,” the prime minister said.
He said when the country is looking for solutions to the challenges of the future, this consciousness from the past has to be revived. “We have to recreate the same faith among countrymen towards the value of water conservation,” he said.
Without naming anyone, the prime minister said in the past decades, there has been negativity towards issues like water conservation and environment protection.
Some people had assumed that these tasks are so big that they cannot be tackled at all, he said.
“But in the last eight or nine years, the country has changed this mindset and the conditions have also changed,” he said, naming Namami Gange river conservation scheme as an example. The scheme has emerged as a model for different states, he added.
Modi said falling groundwater level is a big challenge.
“For this, the country has started the Catch the Rain movement, which is now progressing rapidly. Water conservation is also being promoted in thousands of gram panchayats of the country through Atal Bhujal Yojana,” he said.
Along with water conservation, other issues related to environment have to be treated with equal emphasis, the PM said.
He mentioned the adoption of drip irrigation as a technique to conserve water.
Modi pitched for including millets in the diet, reminding that their cultivation requires less water. This is the International Year of Millets.
Union Jal Shakti Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, actor Nana Patekar and erstwhile Mewar royal family member Lakshyaraj Singh attended the event.
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