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India’s Battles to Save Every Drop #1: MJSA, Rajasthan

  Water Campaigns in India - A Study


2050 is going to witness a peak in population as the world comes close to hitting 10 billion. Years before this, however, the world will be unable to meet the water demands of the existing population as our precious, finite lakes and rivers dry out or become contaminated.

 

Every country is slowly waking up the reality of the situation and efforts have begun to combat the situation. As India barrels towards becoming the most populated country in the world where a majority of the public cannot access safe drinking water, the government is realizing the need to tackle the impending water shortage crisis of 2030. Here’s a little bit about a local solution that Rajasthan has modestly been working for nearly two years.

The Mukhya Mantri Jal Swavlamban Abhiyan

In January 2016, what was considered one of the country’s largest campaign towards water conservation in rural India was launched. Mukhya Mantri Jal Swavlamban Abhiyan began, aiming to benefit 21,000 villages by the year 2020. The aim of the campaign was to make every participating village self sufficient in water through the use of technology.

The programme, launched by the Chief Minister, sought to raise awareness among the locals and encourage their active participation. It also hopes to pique the interests of NGOs, religious communities and even local corporate houses through CSR. These initiatives would operate on donations of cash, kind and labour across the state of Rajasthan.

Crowdfunding united the public and the government in a single mission to save water

Though the initiative was kicked off with a budget of Rs 3,600 crore for the first phase of the campaign that would run from January to June 2016, the government noted a shortfall of Rs 1,200 crore. However, this obstacle was quickly tackled with through crowdfunding initiatives that helped raise enough to keep the programme running smoothly!

The public, citizens and organizations alike, took part in funding. The first day alone saw Rs 7 crore being raised by locals, social groups and businesses towards a united cause to conserve water. Moreover, Rajasthan’s entire police force pledged a full day’s salary, adding another Rs 1 crore to the funds raised. Members of the legislative assembly pledged to donate an entire month’s salary!

How well has the programme been doing?

Fortunately, updates have only good news to offer. 3,000 villages benefitted from the programme in 2016 and today, in 2018, the number is over four times as much with over 673 million donations that have already been made! On observing the unexpectedly rapid pace at which solutions are being implemented, the target number seems highly achievable.

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The effect of water crisis is immense that efforts need to be taken by the government and private citizens. Through our blog series of "India’s Battles to Save Every Drop" we go into the different initiatives taken by the government. If you want to know what you can do to help make a dent in the crisis - read here.

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