India to invest over $240 bn in water sector: Jal Shakti minister

United Nations: India has committed investments of more than USD 240 billion in the water sector and is implementing the world’s largest dam rehabilitation programme coupled with efforts to restore groundwater level, Minister of Jal Shakti Gajendra Singh Shekhawat told the UN.
Shekhawat highlighted the ambitious programmes and efforts being undertaken in India towards ensuring water security and achieving Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 6 of clean water and sanitation for all as he addressed the UN Water Conference 2023 on Thursday.
Sustainable Development Goal 6 is about “clean water and sanitation for all”. It is one of 17 Sustainable Development Goals established by the United Nations General Assembly in 2015.
“We have committed investments of more than 240 billion dollars in the water sector through government resources, in partnership with private innovators, start-ups, and water-user associations. India is implementing two flagship missions to ensure universal access to sanitation and drinking water,” Shekhawat said, delivering the national statement in the UN General Assembly.
He said India is implementing the largest dam rehabilitation programme in the world to build climate resilience critical water storage infrastructure.
Further, due to the country’s unique geography, India is among the largest users of groundwater in the world, he said.
Shekhawat told the conference that India’s ambitious National Mission for Clean Ganga or Namami Gange has been recently recognised by the UN Convention of Biodiversity conference COP15 held at Montreal as one of the top 10 World Restoration Flagships to revive the natural world. “This mission has created a paradigm shift in river rejuvenation, pollution abatement, conservation of ecosystems and holistic approach to river basin management,” he said.
He emphasised that the government’s ‘Jal Jeevan Mission’ or Water Life Mission aims to achieve safe and affordable drinking water in rural households by 2024 and manage its own in-village water supply systems. He further said India’s Swachh Bharat Mission or Clean India Mission milestone was reached in 2019 when the country was declared open defecation free.
“In our journey to achieve SDG 6.2, since 2014 we have built over 105 million toilets, and transformed sanitation habits through mass scale behaviour change of more than 600 million Indians,” he said.
The campaign continues through efforts at ensuring sustainable solid and liquid waste management solutions in all 600,000 villages and communities in India. The SGD 6.2 target aims to achieve access to adequate and equitable sanitation and hygiene for all and end open defecation by 2030, paying special attention to the needs of women and girls and those in vulnerable situations.

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