Atal Bhujal Yojana:

The World Bank has approved India’s Rs 6,000 crore central scheme which aims to improve groundwater management in priority areas in the country through community participation over a period of five years from 2018-19 to 2022-23,

About Atal Bhujal Yojana:

It is a Rs.6000 crore Central Sector Scheme of the Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation. The scheme aims to improve groundwater management in priority areas in the country through community participation.

The priority areas identified under the scheme fall in the states of Gujarat, Haryana, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh. These States represent about 25% of the total number of over-exploited, critical and semi-critical blocks in terms of groundwater in India. They also cover two major types of groundwater systems found in India – alluvial and hard rock aquifers- and have varying degrees of institutional readiness and experience in groundwater management.

Funds under the scheme will be provided to the states for strengthening the institutions responsible for groundwater governance, as well as for encouraging community involvement for improving groundwater management to foster behavioral changes that promote conservation and efficient use of water. The scheme will also facilitate convergence of ongoing Government schemes in the states by incentivizing their focussed implementation in identified priority areas.

The implementation of the scheme is expected to have several positive outcomes like better understanding of the ground water regime, focused and integrated community based approach for addressing issues related to ground water depletion, sustainable ground water management through convergence of on-going and new schemes, adoption of efficient water use practices to reduce ground water use for irrigation and augmentation of groundwater resources in targeted areas.

Central Ground Water Authority (CGWA) is regulating groundwater development in 23 States/UTs. As per the assessment of dynamic groundwater resources of the country carried out jointly by CGWB and State Ground Water Departments, out of the total 6584 numbers of assessment units (Block/ Taluks/ Mandals/ watershed/ Firkka), 1034 units have been categorized as ‘Over-exploited’. This may be due to increase in population, rapid urbanization & industrialization and other related factors.

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