Raje’s crowd-funded water scheme has least political donors
The officials can’t stop singing paeans to the Mukhyamantri Jal Swavalamban Abhiyan (MJSA) for helping Rajasthan improve its ranking in the NITI Aayog’s composite water management index — from 13th to 10th.
Ironically, the ambitious project launched by chief minister Vasundhra Raje with an aim to make state self-sufficient in water by conserving and harvesting rainwater, has failed to find many takers among political leaders and institutions.
The crowd-funded project received least donations from political institutions in the first two phases — 0.007 per cent in Phase-I and 0.2 per cent in Phase-II.
In other words, of the total Rs 35.76 crore the MJSA received in Phase-I from different donors that include government institutions and departments, corporate, political institutions, individuals and social groups and NGOs, only Rs 27,000 came from political institutions or political leaders. In Phase-II, the total donations received were worth Rs 22.65 crore of which Rs 4.72 lakh came from the political institutions.
The programme focuses on participation from the village locals, NGOs, non-resident villagers, religious communities, and corporate houses through their CSR initiatives in cash, kind, and labour for harvesting water in Rajasthan’s rural areas.
In Phase-I, MJSA received cash donations of Rs 12.68 crore from various government departments, Rs 15.81 crore from CSR/Industries, Rs 4.09 crore from various individuals, Rs 57.6 lakh from social groups/ NGOs, Rs 2.63 crore from religious trusts and Rs 27,000 from political institutions. The three political donors in the Phase-I were the BJP Dehat unit of Ajmer district, a sarpanch union and a woman leader identified as Kiran Devi Meena.
In phase-II, the scheme received cash donations of Rs 2.61 crore from various government departments, Rs 16.80 crore from CSR/Industries, Rs 4.09 crore from various individuals, Rs 1.72 crore from various individuals, , Rs 1.18 crore from social groups/ NGO, Rs 28.92 lakh from religious trust and Rs 4.72 lakh from political institutions. The five political donors were gram panchayats of Khalife Ki Bawa, Rohidala (both in Barmer district), Sargot (Nagaur district), Dhar (Sikar district), and a Sarpanch from Laxmangarh block in Sikar.
Earlier, Sriram Vedire, chairperson of the Rajasthan River Basin and Water Resources Planning Authority, had credited the restoration of surface water bodies and other works done under MJSA for the state improving its ranking to 10th spot in the NITI Aayog’s composite water management index for financial year 2016-17.
The desert state was ranked 13th in the country in the base year (financial year 2015-16).
Vedire claimed that the MJSA, launched in January 2016, has restored most of the irrigation potential of identified water bodies largely through community-managed ponds and tanks while improving the water level as well.
“Our focus is on reviving water bodies, increasing ground water and providing clean drinking water. This scheme is driving force in improving our stand by nine points (in NITI Aayog Index), highest in the country under instrumental change,” he had said.
A total of 12,000 villages have been covered with the programme in its three phases, Vedire had said, adding that survey for the fourth year has started and an additional 4000 villages will be covered by the end of the year.