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India's water revolution: $250B investment powers decade of progress

  • India's water revolution: $250B investment powers decade of progress
  • India's Union Cabinet Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat disclosed a US$ 250 billion investment in the country's water sector over the past decade.

  • Various sectors like irrigation, river purification, drinking water, and groundwater recharge have been the focus of this investment.

India’s Union Cabinet Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat revealed on Wednesday that India had invested approximately US$ 250 billion across the country’s water sector over the past decade, reports Business Standard.

The country has focused on various sectors including irrigation, river purification, drinking water, and groundwater recharge.

This unprecedented funding has had a positive outcome according to Shekhawat, who said that one of the pivotal milestones achieved was the ambitious Jal Jeevan Mission, inaugurated in 2019. "Since the inception of the Jal Jeevan Mission, there has been a paradigm shift in the water sector. The mission has facilitated access to clean drinking water for millions of households across the country."

Shekhawat disclosed that 74 per cent of households now have access to drinking water through taps, marking a significant leap from the mere 16 per cent recorded before 2019.

He also announced a staggering surge in water sector initiatives over the last four years, eclipsing the combined efforts of the preceding 72 years."We have witnessed 3.5 times more progress in the water sector in the last four years alone compared to the seven decades post-independence," he affirmed.

Shekhawat added: "With investments exceeding 240 billion dollars in the water sector and ambitious missions aimed at achieving universal access to sanitation and drinking water, India stands poised to achieve SDG 6.1 well before 2030," stated Shekhawat, reaffirming India's commitment to sustainable development goals.

74 per cent of households now have access to drinking water through taps, marking a significant leap from the mere 16 per cent recorded before 2019

Emphasizing the crucial need for action, ICC Director General Rajeev Singh highlighted, "Increasing private sector involvement in water and wastewater projects is essential. Initiatives like unlocking funding opportunities, fostering innovation, and enhancing service delivery are key to attracting private investment."

Several companies have shown an increasing interest in India, including Diversey, a Solenis Company, which announced this month its growth plans for India's water treatment and hygiene sectors. 

Ankur Patni, Executive Director of ION Exchange, underscored the significance of cooperation and innovation in water management, stating, "As the world focuses on microplastics and pharmaceutical residues, attention turns to the promising potential of biomass and bioremediation technologies. Collaboration among academia, industry, and government is vital for driving innovation in water management. Long-term financial support, grants, and partnerships are essential for leveraging these innovations. Let's unite across sectors to cultivate a vibrant water innovation ecosystem, ensuring a sustainable future worldwide."

With 18 percent of the global population but only 4 percent of its water resources, India ranks among the most water-stressed worldwide. A report by the government's policy think tank, the NITI Aayog, highlighted last year that a significant portion of Indians experience high to extreme water stress.

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