Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched the Atal Bhujal Yojana (ATAL JAL) in New Delhi on 25 December 2019.
ATAL JAL has been designed with the principal objective of strengthening the institutional framework for participatory groundwater management and bringing about behavioral changes at the community level for sustainable groundwater resource management in seven states — Gujarat, Haryana, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh.
The scheme is expected to benefit nearly 8,350 gram panchayats in 78 districts in these states. It will promote panchayat-led ground water management and behavioural change with primary focus on demand side management.
The total outlay of the project is Rs 6,000 crore to be implemented between 2020-21 to 2024-25. Of the total cost, 50 percent will be in the in the form of World Bank loan, and be repaid by the Central government. The remaining 50 percent will be through Central Assistance from regular budgetary support.
The World Bank’s loan component and Central Assistance will be passed on to the states as grants. Moreover, a provision has been made in the Atal Jal Yojana, in which better performing gram panchayats will be given more allocation.
Both the Union and state governments will spend Rs 3.5 lakh crore on water-related schemes in the next five years.