Atal Bhujal Yojana: GOI and World Bank signed loan agreement to improve groundwater in India

The World Bank and Government of India signed a USD 450 million loan agreement to improve India’s groundwater requirements. The major objective of this agreement is to curb the declining level of groundwater and strengthening the efforts with groundwater in India.

Key Highlights of Agreement

This program will increase the recharge of aquifers, initiate measures related to water conservation, promote activities related to water harvesting, water management, and crop conformity, create an institutional structure for sustainable groundwater management and continuous groundwater management Communities and related stakeholders will be enabled for management.

The Atal Bhujal Yojana (ABHY) aims to strengthen the institutional framework associated with participatory groundwater management. It also aims to encourage changes in people's behavior at the community level for sustainable groundwater resource management.

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This agreement will help in better implementation of this program by using state-of-the-art technology such as Artificial Intelligence and Space Technology. This program will also help rural people to strengthen the rural economy in the context of climate change.

About Atal Bhujal Yojana (ABHY)

Atal Bhujal Yojana (ABHY) is also known as National Groundwater Management Improvement Programme. The scheme will be implemented in Maharashtra, Haryana, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Karnataka. All these states have alluvial aquifers of the Indus-Gangetic plains and hard rock aquifers of peninsular India.

The government of India selected these states because of their certain features and specific criteria. It includes experience in groundwater exploitation, constructively established regulatory and statutory bodies, implementing programs related to groundwater management.

Objectives of ABHY

The objective of Atal Bhujal Yojana is to promote panchayat-led groundwater management. ABHY also aims to increase farmers’ incomes and improvement in water use efficiency on a larger scale. It has another objective to improve cropping patterns and use of groundwater at the community level.

According to the media reports, the total outlay of Atal Bhujal Yojana is Rs 6,000 crore. The World Bank will provide 50 percent as a loan while the rest amount will be paid by the Government of India. The scheme will be implemented in five years (2020-2021 to 2024-2025).

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