Groundwater fulfills the drinking water requirements of nearly 85% and 50% of the rural and urban Indian population, respectively. 65% of the total irrigated area utilizes groundwater. It also caters to the water needs of the industrial sector in India. However, this intensive and unregulated extraction and utilization of groundwater has led to a sharp and severe decline in the groundwater levels. To arrest the decline in groundwater levels, Atal Bhujal Yojana or Atal Jal - perhaps India’s largest community-led groundwater management program to date - was launched in December 2019.
It will be implemented across 8353 Gram Panchayats across 7 States of India i.e. Gujarat, Haryana, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, and Uttar Pradesh, and the selection of blocks was done using a challenge method. The program is based on PforR model (Program for Results) which drives the fund allocation under the program. Of the total 6000 crores allocated to the program (with 50% share of the World Bank), Atal Jal is designed to disburse funds to States only after they are able to demonstrate achievement of results on the ground using reliable data against predefined indicators called Disbursement Linked Indicators or DLIs. There are five DLIs in the program.
Atal Bhujal Yojana: Overview
Atal Bhujal Yojana: Roles and responsibilities
Atal Bhujal Yojana: Capacity building
Atal Bhujal Yojana: Districts and blocks
Detailed program guidelines are available on the Ministry of Jal Shakti website.
Acknowledgments: To the participants of Programme in Rural Management (PRM), Batch 40 of the Institute of Rural Management, Anand (IRMA) for their help in simplifying the guidelines.