New Delhi: Streamlining measures to tackle the drought in the country, the centre directed on Monday different ministries to release additional funds to states.
Cabinet secretary P.K. Sinha directed the ministries—drinking water and sanitation, rural development, land resources and urban development—to take up an integrated action plan for optimally using and storing rainwater and for water conservation, according to an official statement.
Sinha asked for a central information system in consultation with state governments to monitor progress.
The centre’s response came as state governments raised issues such as construction of farm ponds, community ponds, check dams as well as de-silting measures, and demanded early release of funds to take up the water harvesting measures on a priority basis.
Top officials from drought-hit states such as Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, Telangana, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra and Gujarat participated in the review meeting through video conferencing.
According to the official statement, Sinha also asked states to take full advantage of the upcoming monsoon to conserve water.
Last year, as many as 11 states declared a drought after the June-to-September south-west monsoon recorded a deficit of 14% compared to the long period average. This was preceded by a 12% deficit the year before. Successive years of poor rainfall have worsened the drinking water situation with more than 25% of rural habitations in India facing a scarcity, agriculture minister Radha Mohan Singh said last week.