A new ‘Jal Shakti’ Ministry, in which the erstwhile ministries of Water Resources and Drinking Water and Sanitation will be merged, has been formed with Gajendra Singh Shekhawat at its helm.
Shekhawat took charge of the ministry on Friday, a day after he was sworn in as minister. During the election campaign, Modi had promised to form an integrated ministry dealing with water issues.
“All the water related works will be merged under one ministry,” Shekhawat said after taking the charge. The ambit of the ministry will encompass issues ranging from international and inter-states water disputes, the byzantine Namami Gange project, the flagship initiative to clean the Ganges, its tributaries and sub-tributaries and provide clean drinking water.
In the first Modi government, the project to clean Ganga was moved from the Ministry of Environment and Forests to the Ministry of Water Resources. With a greater push and much larger monetary allocation, the Namami Gange project was launched.
The minister said as promised in the party manifesto, the priority will be to provide clean drinking water to everyone. Rebutting the charge that nothing was done under the Namami Gange project, Shekhawat said the Ganga river has been cleaned to a large extent and now the priority will be to clean its tributaries and sub-tributaries.
Rattan Lal Kataria will be the minister of state in the newly formed ministry.