During portfolio allocation on May 30, BJP MP Gajendra Singh Shekhawat was appointed as minister of the newly formed Jal Shakti Ministry.
Besides, Rattan Lal Kataria was named Minister of State in this ministry.
The ministry has been introduced in line with the NDA government’s announcement during the Interim Budget and is key to fulfillment of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s poll promise of providing safe drinking water.
The ministry will also focus on the sustainability of water supply by conserving rural water bodies and groundwater recharge.
The Jal Shakti ministry has been formed by reorganizing erstwhile ministries of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation, which was held by Nitin Gadkari in the previous Modi government. Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation has also been added to it.
During an election rally ahead of the Lok Sabha elections, PM Modi had promised a separate ministry to cater to water-related issues if the BJP government was voted back to power. He had said the ministry will focus on providing clean drinking water and “top-class irrigation water facilities” for farmers.
The BJP also promised commissioning the ‘Nal se Jal’, under which piped water will be ensured to every household by 2024.
The idea of creating the Jal Shakti Ministry was originally conceptualised by late former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee. He had suggested linking rivers of different parts of the country to resolve the problems of drinking water and irrigation.
With most of rural India depending on monsoon for water, the situation in at least eight states of the country is grim, including Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Gujarat and Maharashtra.