In view of the drought that has directly affected a quarter of the country’s population — about 300 million people living in 10 states — the committee of secretaries headed by the Cabinet Secretary is expected to meet on Monday to outline plans for water storage and conservation.
The meeting will also involve Chief Secretaries of all states and union territories. “In his last Mann ki Baat address on the radio, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had called on the need for revolutionary steps to mitigate the effects of drought.
The PMO has since indicated that the next four to six weeks are crucial to ensure water conservation measures are in place prior to the monsoon,” said a senior government official.
With the IMD having forecast above normal rainfall, plans involve a special focus on harnessing rainwater during the monsoon. The Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation has been appointed as the nodal ministry for overseeing the implementation of the plans on a fortnightly basis throughout the year.
A draft note for the committee of secretaries states how the cumulative water storage levels are way below the normal mark in every state except for Madhya Pradesh, West Bengal and Tripura, with reservoirs in the western and southern regions of the country having the least amount of water.