NITI Aayog meet: Modi calls for framing laws to end water scarcity

Our aim is to provide piped water to all rural households by 2024, Modi said

PTI6_15_2019_000095B Prime Minister Narendra Modi chairs the fifth meeting of the governing council of NITI Aayog | PTI

With water crisis looming over the country, Prime Minister Narendra Modi called for framing of rules and regulations, such as model building bylaws, for better water conservation and management. Our aim is to provide piped water to all rural households by 2024, Modi said during the NITI Aayog meeting in the national capital.

The prime minister's assertion of meeting the target appears to be a tall order in the wake of reports of drought and water shortage coming from various states.The Centre, along with the states, may have to work overtime to end water scarcity.

Speaking during the meeting, the prime minister said attention has to be given to water conservation, and raising the water table. He appreciated the efforts made by several states towards water conservation and management. Modi said the poor bear the brunt of insufficient water conservation efforts.

The government has brought all the water related issues under the ambit a new ministry named jal shakti. PM Modi asked the states to integrate their efforts towards water conservation and management.

He also called for effective steps to tackle drought. He said the spirit of 'per drop, more crop' needs to be promoted and added that Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana (PMKSY) should be implemented carefully.

On the government's aim to double the income of farmers by 2022, the prime minister said this would require focus on fisheries, animal husbandry, horticulture, fruits and vegetables. The government, for the first time, carved out a separate ministry for animal husbandry and fisheries, indicating how it intends to take forward its mission.

Calling for structural reform in agriculture, the prime minister spoke of the need to boost corporate investment, strengthen logistics, and provide ample market support. He said the food processing sector should grow at a faster pace than food grain production.

He said everyone at this platform has a common goal of achieving a New India by 2022 and cited Swachh Bharat Abhiyan and PM AwaasYojana as examples of what the Centre and the states can accomplish together.

The prime minister said that empowerment and ease of living have to be provided to each and every Indian and added that the goals that have been set for the 150th anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi should be accomplished by October 2, and work should begin in earnest towards the goals set for 2022, the 75th anniversary of Independence.

Modi said the goal to make India a 5 trillion dollar economy by 2024 is challenging, but can surely be achieved. He said states should recognise their core competence, and work towards raising GDP targets right from the district level.

This is the first meeting of NITI Aayog Governing Council after Modi came to power last month. The meeting, being held in the Rashtrapati Bhawan, was set to discuss issues like rain-water harvesting, drought situation, agriculture, Essential Commodities Act, and security-related issues, with specific focus on Naxal violence affected districts.

On the issue of Naxal violence, Modi said the battle was now in the decisive phase. He said violence will be dealt with firmly, even as development proceeds in a fast-paced and balanced manner.

Three chief ministers—West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, Telangana CM K. Chandrashekar Rao and Punjab CM Amarinder Singh—have stayed away from the meeting.