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Tackling water crisis: new scheme by Maharashtra

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The Maharashtra government has initiated a new project through which it intends to make 5000 villages free of water scarcity by March 2016.

Jalyukta Shivar Abhiyan’ (JSA)

  • Unlike the previous irrigation project, which was tainted by an alleged scam of thousands of crores, and that aimed at building large, medium and small irrigation projects, the State is now focusing on building decentralised, local and farmer-oriented water bodies.
  • This government-sponsored watershed programme JSA that has begun in over 6,000 villages, aims at making 5,000 of them free of water scarcity by March 2016.
  • Over Rs. 5,000 crore will be allocated for JSA. As per the official figures, people have voluntarily worked on JSA works worth Rs. 248 crore.
  • This scheme is more of protective irrigation. The main aspects of it are to store water, recharge groundwater levels and increase soil moisture
  • Priority is given to rejuvenation of old structures such as compartment bunding, deepening and widening of nullahs, percolation tanks etc. Completing pending works and building new structures comes next.
  • The decision on the work to be undertaken under the JSA is taken at the gram sabha. Once the plan and the budget are approved, either people put in their money or raise a demand to the District Collector’s office. Several corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives too have been undertaken.
  • To ensure transparency, photos of works before and after completion are uploaded on a website designed for this project. Money is not released until the work is approved by the gram sabha.

 

Water problems of Maharashtra:

  • This year alone over 1,000 farmers have committed suicide till date this year mainly due to draught conditions
  • Despite spending over Rs. 70,000 crore on projects, the State has managed to increase its irrigation potential only by 0.01 per cent in the last one decade, says the report of the Comptroller and Auditor General.
  • At present only 18 per cent farming in the State is under irrigation, while 52 per cent area is prone to drought.