The Vice President of India, M. Venkaiah Naidu inaugurated the Award distribution ceremony of National Water Awards, 2019 today in presence of the Union Minister of Jal Shakti, Shri Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, Minister of State for Jal Shakti, Shri Rattan Lal Kataria, Secretary, Ministry of Jal Shakti, Shri U.P. Singh and other officials were also present on the occasion. Shri M Venkaiah Naidu gave his compliments to the Jal Shakti Ministry and congratulated all the States, institutions, organisations, individuals and others for their contribution to the cause of water conservation. He said that through National Water Awards, Jal Andolan is being transformed into a Jan Andolan. "Without the people's participation nothing will succeed; we saw that in Swachh Bharat Abhiyan," he said.The Vice President complimented Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi for taking various initiatives like Swachh Bharat Abhiyan and Jal Shakti Abhiyan. The Vice President said that he was delighted to know that the categories of the Awards include all stakeholders. "It is our duty to take all possible steps for conservation of this limited resource and there is an urgent need for a sustained mass media campaign to aware people about the importance of water conservation," Shri Naidu added. He also emphasized on the need to reduce wastage of water and said that need of the hour is to change our lifestyle and make water conservation a way of life. Good governance has been placed at the forefront of the country’s development agenda. The positive results of NamamiGange Programme, the expeditious completion of irrigation projects under Pradhan MantriKrishiSinchaiYojana, a renewed participatory approach towards groundwater management through Atal BhujalYojana, the improvement in availability of hydrological data through National Hydrology Project and National Project on Aquifer Management exemplify the holistic transformation India’s water sector has undergone in the past few years.
A much-needed policy reform was undertaken at the highest level with the creation of Jal Shakti Ministry to give impetus to integrated management of water resources in India with special focus on demand side and supply side management.He said that, commendably, the policy planners made judicious and active interventions at multiple levels to address individual elements of water management. Soon after the creation of the Jal Shakti Ministry, Jal Jeevan Mission was launched to provide a functional tap to every household by 2024. Parallelly, Jal Shakti Abhiyan (JSA), an aggressive and time-bound water conservation campaign was carried out from July to December 2019 covering 256 districts across India. JSA aims at making water conservation a Jan Andolan through asset creation and extensive communication. JSA is vigorously supplemented by the activities of National Water Mission to augment the overall growth of water consciousness in the country by emphasizing on the importance of water conservation, reuse and recharge and raise awareness on the indispensability of water as a resource.He said that micro-irrigation practices like drip and sprinkler systems have to be promoted in a big way for efficient use of water for agriculture. Reduce, Reuse and Recycle must be the watch-words if we have to handover a liveable planet to the future generations. Watershed development is another area that can spur local economic development, job creation, biodiversity protection and climate resilience.He congratulated all the winners and hoped that they will continue to do good work in water conservation. He also thanked the Ministry of Jal Shakti for organizing these Awards which not only motivate more and more people to do their but for the wonderful cause of water conservation but also act as a national platform to bring together and acknowledge some outstanding works being done across the country.
Shri Naidu said that this platform also offers a window for new perspectives and directions in the area of water resources and expressed confidence that steps like these will go a long way in the development of water consciousness in the country, which is the need-of-the-hour.Vision and Devotion of Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi to create a people's movement for Water Conservation has inspired the entire Nation: Shri ShekhawatAddressing the gathering, the Union Minister for Jal Shakti Shri GajendraSingh Shekhawatthanked the Vice President for encouraging everyone to do their bit for water conservation. Shri Shekhawat said that there are many reasons to compliment the winners but first among them is their contribution to create a robust water consciousness through mass awareness. The winners have shown from their actions that anything can be achieved if one is ready to make efforts. He also extended his gratitude to water warriors who have not applied for the Awards but are playing their part.Shri Shekhawat added that it is the vision and devotion of our Hon Prime Minister to create a people's movement for water conservation that has inspired the entire nation. These Awards are to encourage and inspire not only those who are working for the cause but also those who want to contribute but are hesitant.He emphasized that urbanisation and industrialisation will put water resources under stress but it is essential to spread the awareness about water conservation through leaders, parents and other important institutions at all levels to bring about a behavioural change, which will be pivotal to the cause of effective water conservation and management. He added that all of us will have to acknowledge the inseparability of people and natural ecosystems to being about a transformation in our consciousness.The Minister of State for Jal Shakti,Shri Rattan LalKataria thanked the Hon’ble Vice President forhis gracious presence at the Award Ceremony and said it is encouraging for both the awardees as well as the officials of the Department.Shri Katariacongratulated the awardees for their remarkable achievements & meaningful contributions in the field of Water Conservation and Management. TheMoS specifically appreciated the brilliant efforts of all such individuals/Organizations that have been working tirelessly in this field but could not get the Award today. He termed their contribution as equallyvaluable. Shri Kataria congratulated the Department for instituting National water Awards to recognize,acknowledge and appreciate the sincere efforts of individuals/Organizations and termed it as a step in the right direction to spread awareness amongst masses on the imminent need to have a holistic approach towards water management.Shri U.P. Singh, Secretary, Ministry of Jal Shakti welcomed the guests and said that the Ministry of Jal Shakti is committed to address the water related issues in an integrated manner.
Rajiv Ranjan Mishra, DG, NMCG and Shri Anil Joshi, Padma Bhushan and a noted environmentalist were also present on the occasion.Out of 1112 valid applications, a total of 98 winners were selected in 16 categories. The categories in which entries were invited include Best State, Best District, Best Village Panchayat, Best Urban Local Body, Best Research/ Innovation/ New Technology, Best Education/ Mass Awareness effort, Best TV show, Best Newspaper, Best School, Best Institution/ RWA/ Religious Organisation, Best Industry, Best Water Regulatory Authority, Best Water Warrior, Best NGO, Best Water User Association and Best Industry for CSR Activity. Water Users Association and Best Industry for CSR Activity are the two categories which were included in National Water Awards 2019. Few of these categories have sub-categories in different zones of the country. The winners were felicitated with trophies/citation. Except for three categories - ‘Best State’, ‘Best State’ and ‘Best Water Regulatory Authority’, winners from the rest thirteen categories were awarded cash prizes.The Best State Awards for 1st, 2nd and 3rd positions have gone to Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra and Rajasthan. Mizoram won the first prize in the special category States. Best District Award was sub-divided into six zones – North, South, West, East, Northeast and Aspirational and into two sub categories – Revival of Rivers and Water Conservation. In North, the Award for Best District in Revival of Rivers and Water Conservation was given to Ayodhya and Almora, in South, Vellore and YSR Kadapa, in West, Sangli and Kachchh, in East, Bilaspur and Surajpur, in Northeast, West Tripura (WC) and in Aspirational district category to Khandana and Vizianagaram respectively.The aim of the National Water Awards is to acknowledge individuals/organizations doing commendable work in the field of water conservation and management. Also, it strives to create awareness among the people about the importance of water and motivate them to adopt the best water usage practices.The National Water Awards not only focused on the good work and efforts made by individual and organisations across the country, it was a right step in the direction of government’s vision of a ‘Jal Samridh Bharat’. The event provided a good opportunity to start-ups as well as leading organisations to engage and deliberate. The ceremony also provided an occasion for all people and organisations to further cement a strong partnership and engender stakeholders’ engagement in water resources conservation and management.The National Water Awards 2019 was launched in September 2019 on MyGov portal and entries were also invited by Central Groundwater Board. The Jury Committee was headed by Shri Shashi Shekhar, Former Secretary, Department of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation. Two Screening Committees with members from CGWB and CWC assisted the Jury Committee in studying the applications and selecting the winners.National Water Awardees, delegates and audience joined LIVE through virtual platform.