The President of India, Droupadi Murmu presented the Swachh Sujal Shakti Samman 2023 and graced the launch of Jal Shakti Abhiyan: Catch The Rain -2023 in New Delhi today (March 4, 2023).
Speaking on the occasion, the President said that water and sanitation hold a special place in the life of every citizen. But these issues affect women the most, as generally it is the responsibility of women to arrange drinking water for their home. In villages, they had to walk long distances to get drinking water. Arranging for drinking water not only took a lot of their time but also put their safety and health at risk. Usually, school/college going girls were also engaged in arranging water along with their elders, which hindered their studies. To overcome these problems, the Government of India has taken special measures. It is providing clean drinking water and sanitation facilities through initiatives such as Jal Jeevan Mission and Swachh Bharat Mission. She was happy to note that today more than 11.3 crore households are getting potable water from the tap. She said that the women, who earlier used to spend time fetching water, are now utilizing that time in other productive works. Clean tap water has also shown significant improvement in the health of infants who used to fall prey to water-borne diseases like diarrhea and dysentery due to polluted water.
Stressing on the need of water conservation and water management, the President said that it is a well-known fact that in our country, water resources are limited and its distribution is also uneven. About 18 percent of the world’s population resides in India, but only 4 percent of the world’s water resources are available here. Moreover, most of this water is received in the form of rain, which drains into rivers and seas. That’s why water conservation and its management is a very important topic for us. Today we are more dependent on institutional means for water supply than traditional means. But along with using modern techniques for sustainable water supply, revival of the traditional methods of water management and water-harvesting is the need of the hour. All stakeholders should work together for water conservation and its management. We need to make this effort not only for ourselves but also for the healthy and safe future of our coming generations.
The President was happy to note that about two lakh villages in the country have declared themselves as ODF plus villages. She said that it means that these villages have solid and liquid waste management systems in place. She emphasized on the need for proper and environment-friendly management of household wastes. She pointed that often it is seen that the solid wastes from the houses is thrown at a public place and the liquid wastes goes into water bodies. She said that it is harmful to the environment and living beings. We should have a system in which most of the waste-materials is recycled; liquid wastes cannot contaminate underground water; and we can make manure from the left over wastes.
The President said that making India a ‘clean nation’ is not only the responsibility of the government, but the collective responsibility of all citizens. She said that ‘Jal Shakti’ cannot be fruitful without ‘Nari Shakti’. United power of both these forces is needed for social prosperity. ‘Jal Jeevan Mission’ aims to empower women.
The President said that due to dedication and hard work being done by all the awardees in the fields of water conservation, making villages ODF plus, waste management, rain-water harvesting, India would set an example before the world community in water management and cleanliness. She urged awardees to inform people in their respective areas about the work being done in the field of cleanliness and water conservation across the country and inspire them to adopt an environmentally friendly life-style.
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