India’s Water Transformation: $250 Billion Investment Fuels Decade of Progress

Union Jal Shakti Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat Addressing ICC Water Innovation Summit

New Delhi [India], February 22, 2024: In an address at the ‘Water Innovation Summit’ organized by the Indian Chamber of Commerce, Union Minister of Jal Shakti, Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, heralded a decade of revolutionary growth and modernization in India’s infrastructure under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Highlighting India’s ‘unparalleled’ commitment to the water sector over the past decade, Minister Shekhawat revealed that the country has witnessed an investment of approximately US $250 billion across various domains including irrigation, river purification, drinking water, and groundwater recharge.

“The last 10 years have seen unprecedented progress in India’s infrastructure, encompassing roadways, railways, waterways, airways, and energy. India stands as a beacon of innovation and development, with transformative initiatives propelling the nation towards a brighter future,” remarked Shekhawat.

One of the pivotal milestones achieved during this period is the ambitious Jal Jeevan Mission, initiated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2019.  Shekhawat underscored the impact of this mission, stating, “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.”

A revelation unveiled by Shekhawat is the exponential surge in water sector initiatives over the past four years, surpassing the cumulative 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.

Furthermore, Shekhawat disclosed that 74 percent of households now have access to drinking water through taps, marking a significant leap from the mere 16 percent recorded prior to 2019. “This monumental achievement underscores our unwavering commitment to ensuring access to clean drinking water for every household in the country,” he emphasized.

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India’s steadfast dedication to water conservation and management has garnered global recognition, with initiatives such as the National Mission for Clean Ganga (Namami Gange) being lauded on the international stage. Minister Shekhawat revealed that Namami Gange has been acknowledged as one of the top 10 World Restoration Flagships by the UN Convention of Biodiversity conference COP15.

“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.

India’s efforts in water resources management have not gone unnoticed, with Shekhawat noting, “The world looks to India as a guiding light in addressing water-related challenges. Our holistic approach and comprehensive strategies serve as a source of inspiration for developing nations seeking solutions to similar issues.”

Stressing on the need for concerted focus, ICC director general Rajeev Singh said, “There is a need to ensure increase in private sector participation in water and wastewater initiatives. Measures such as unlocking funding opportunities, facilitating innovations in the sector, and improved service delivery should be undertaken to give a boost to private investors.”

Ankur Patni, ED of ION Exchange, emphasized the importance of collaboration and innovation in water management, stating, “In a world fixated on microplastics and pharmaceutical residue, the spotlight shifts to the burgeoning potential of biomass and bioremediation technologies. Collaboration between academia, industry, and government is crucial, fostering innovation in water management. Long-term financial enablement, grants, and partnerships are imperative to harnessing these innovations. Let’s unite across sectors to create a dynamic water innovation ecosystem, ensuring a sustainable future globally.”

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