Israel has offered India its expertise in tackling droughts and desertification after PM Modi set up a new water conservation and management ministry, vowing to supply clean drinking water to all rural households by 2024.
A recently established ‘Jal Shakti Ministry,’ tasked with ensuring an “integrated approach” to solving the issue of water scarcity that impacts both agriculture and households, will focus on conservation and proper management of this “important element for life,” Narendra Modi’s office said.
While no specific course of action to deal with water shortages was outlined, Modi stated that his government is committed to bringing pure running water to all those who reside in the countryside within next five years.
Amid the severity of droughts and water shortages across India, especially during summer months, the government will also be exploring agriculture and water irrigation reforms as it strives to make India a $5 trillion economy by 2024.
Israel, which already provides India with irrigation technology through the Agency for International Development Cooperation (MASHAV), has offered Modi’s new ministry additional help to address its water shortages. While only roughly 20 percent of the land in Israel is naturally arable, the country has created a highly developed agriculture industry by taming the desert. India can do the same, Tel Aviv believes.
“Israel is keen to work together and share all its experience and cutting-edge technology in our joint fight against desertification, including a strategic partnership on water management and water security,” said Israeli Ambassador to India, Ron Malka.
Ahead of the World Day to Combat Desertification on June 17, MASHAV said it is ready to transfer modern agri technologies to India, while offering guidance in developing desert agriculture, irrigation, desalination and management of water resources.
Roughly 200,000 people die in India annually due to lack of access to clean water, the National Institute for Transforming India (NITI) Aayog estimates. Another 600 million face high to extreme water shortages annually, as about 54 percent of India’s groundwater wells are seeing a decline in water levels. If the trend continues, some 21 major cities may run out of groundwater as early as next year, an NITI Aayog report said, warning of an imminent food security threat.
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