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New Delhi : In the concluding session of the 5th India Water Impact Summit, Union Jal Shakti Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat on December 16, 2020, said that the world needs to come together to meet the challenges of the water sector in the same way as the world has united in fighting the COVID-19 Pandemic. The focal point of discussion on the last day of summit was “River Conservation Synchronised Navigation and Flood Management”.

Equating the summit as “VaicharikKumbh”, Shekhawat pointed out that the conference resulted in greater interaction between investors and stakeholders in the water sector to promote international cooperation between India and many foreign countries for water and river management, according to a PIB release.

Shekhawat said, “We have learnt a lot from national and international experiences and it is our promise that we will try to bring these learnings and concepts into practice. There is political will and determination like never before, backed by support from academic and self-help organisations.”

Talking about groundwater, Shekhawat said that we use groundwater the most in the world. We are working to reduce our dependence on it. We are working on the Atal BhujalYojna, a pioneering initiative to map and recharge aquifers and conserve groundwater in collaboration with the World Bank. He said that the scheme has been formed with the main objective of strengthening the institutional structure for groundwater management and bringing about behavioural changes at the community level for sustainable groundwater resource management in 7 states.

“The scheme would promote panchayat-centric groundwater management and behavioural change with the main emphasis on demand side management,” he added. Minister of State, Jal Shakti Ministry, Ratan Lal Katariya, was also present at the Summit.

Hardeep Singh Puri, Union Housing and Urban Affairs Minister, appreciated the momentum and impact created by the Namami Gange mission. He informed that NMCG and National Institute of Urban Affairs (NIUA) have developed a first of its kind strategic framework for managing urban river areas in the Ganga River Basin called the ‘Urban River Management Plan’. “This framework is a river centric planning framework designed to help cities manage the rivers within their stretches using a systems approach,.”Puri said.