Mukhyamantri Jal Swavlamban Abhiyaan: The Next Level

Mukhyamantri Jal Swavlamban Abhiyaan is successful in the state of Rajasthan and under this scheme, 2016 is actually turning out to be a year of “Jal-Kranti”. Rajasthan has always been a drought-prone state with only 1% of water reserve as compared to the whole country. So, in the direction of finding a long-term water solution, Chief Minister of Rajasthan, Smt. Vasundhara Raje launched “Mukhyamantri Jal Swavlamban Abhiyaan (MJSA), whose motive was to conserve rain water so that it could be utilized by the villages even during the droughts. The idea had its origin from Natural Resource Management and focuses towards participation from the village locals, NGOs, non-resident villagers, religious communities, and corporate houses through their CSR initiatives in cash, kind, and labor for water harvesting in Rajasthan’s rural areas.

The scheme is proving to be successful and the more wonderful thing about it is that Rajasthan’s villages and locals are becoming self-dependant through harvesting rainwater. The next step now taken is to speed up the process and take the planning to the next level. Experts suggested that other than rainwater harvesting, the next step should be the plantation of trees. Its objective is to raise the ground water levels to achieve increased benefits of the scheme. The whole framework was discussed with Vasundhara Raje and then, she was straight on point and has directed the officials to carry out an intensive plantation drive. The target is to plant more than 25 lakh saplings to be started by 15th July. As directed, the plantation has to be done around water catchment structures which were built under MJSA campaign. According to the CM, it is not only the plantation of saplings that matters, but also they need care. They have to be watered properly so that they could grow and survive. The officials received standing instructions to make proper arrangements for the saplings to be taken cared for a period of two years.

The Rajasthan Forest department is all set to plant saplings in different areas under Mukhyamantri Jal Swavlamban Abhiyan (MJSA) other than its targeted 61,000 hectares. The officers are enjoying this as for the first time; they have to go for the plantation to a place other than the forest areas. It is a commendable step by Raje and her team of officials. Plantation around the water harvesting structures will be done and this exercise will be carried out in all the 3,500 selected villages, a forest official confirmed. The officers are targeted to plant more and more saplings by the time monsoon starts so that maximum benefit of rainwater could be taken.

Plantation of trees has numerous benefits other than this MJSA also, like protection of soil erosion and prevention of manure and fertilizer into water courses. Connecting existing woodland habitats by planting hedgerows or shelterbelts will boost biodiversity as plants, animals and birds are able to migrate between habitats. Trees are to absorb and lock up carbon which in turn helps in reducing the net carbon emissions. Trees can reduce the impact of drought as shelterbelts can enable crops to use water more efficiently which could reduce the need for irrigation and lead to less abstraction. Thus, Rajasthan Government has a very clear and positive view about the campaign that will help in creating an environment of water stability for our future generations to come.

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