Welcome remarks by Dr Arvind Gupta, Director VIF during the Vimarsh talk by Sh Bharat Lal, DG National Centre for Good Governance, Department of Administrative Reforms and PublicGrievances, GOI, on Tuesday, 07 Feb 2023

It gives me great pleasure to welcome you all to the Vimarsh talk on ‘Water Security in India’ by Sh Bharat Lal.

Sh, Bharat Lal is the Director General of the National Centre for Good Governance, Department of Administrative Reforms and Public Grievances, government of India. A senior civil servant, he joined the Indian Administrative Service in 1988 and has occupied senior positions in state and central government.

He has vast experience of policy making at the highest level on a variety of national and international issues. He has worked in the government’s core team that was set up to manage Covid-19 crisis.

His work in Gujarat in setting up of the Water and Sanitation Management Organisation (WASMO) in Gujarat in 2002 after the Bhuj earthquake won him Prime Minister Civil Service Award as well as the coveted United Nation Public Servant award.

He also conceptualised the Chirinjivi Yojana, which was universalised under the National Rural Health Mission. It had deep impact on Infant Mortality Rate( IMR) and Maternal Mortality Rate (MMR)in India.

Sh Bharat Lal has worked with Narendra ModiJi since 2001. During 2017 to 2019, he was Additional Secretary to President Sh Ram Nath Kovind.

He was the Founder Mission Director of Jal Jeevan Mission (2019), which aim at providing clean tap water to every household and public institution in the country by 2024.

I am grateful to Sh Bharat Lal for accepting our invitation to speak today at Vimarsh.

Dear friends,

There is no denying that India is becoming a water stressed country facing an acute water crisis.

  • More than 600 million people are facing acute water shortages.
  • Per capita availability of water has come down to about 1400 cubic meter from 5000+ cubic meters in 1947.
  • Climate change and extreme weather events including flood, draught and sea level rise have created deep uncertainty on the water situation in the country.
  • India is ranked 120th amongst 122 country in the Water Quality Index. It is estimated that India’s water demand will exceed the supply by a factor of two by 2030.
  • Forty percent of the population will have no excess of drinking water by 2030.
  • Indian rivers are highly polluted.
  • Critical ground water resources, which account for forty percent of water supply are being depleted at unsustainable rate. Major cities will run out of ground water.

Clearly, we have to act now to rescue the country from the looming water crisis.

A number of positive steps have been taken in the recent past. These give hope.

The launch of several important programme Jal Jeevan Mission, Atal Bhoo Jal Yojana, Jal Shakti Abhiyan and Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sichai Yojana are steps in the right direction. Out of an estimated 20 Cr rural households, about 11 Cr have already got tap water in their homes under the Jal Jeevan Mission. We need to speed up the implementation of these schemes.

No one is better placed than Sh Bharat lal, who has been at the centre of the conceptualisation and implementing of many of these schemes to tell us how should India deal with the acute water security crisis it is facing. A lot of these challenges are in the realm of governance, policy and implementation. As the Director General of the National Centre for Good Governance, his views are extremely valuable.

We look forward to an educated and informative talk today.

Sh Bharat Lal Ji.

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