Namami Gange signs agreement with 49 universities to inspire youth towards water conservation, river rejuvenation

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Union Minister for Jal Shakti Gajendra Singh Shekhawat on Wednesday presided over the ‘Namami Gange: Universities Connect’ event, where an agreement was signed with 49 universities to foster awareness among the youth on water conservation in general and river rejuvenation in particular, Ministry of Jal Shakti said in a statement.
The MoU aims to bring the student community to the forefront of the mass movement for creating a sustainable ecosystem of our rivers. Apart from seeking active public participation, the event will also be historical towards creating knowledge-based short-term programmes, and training sessions, and fostering more research on the water sector.
Through the NMCG initiative, many higher educational institutions pledged their support towards the cause of river rejuvenation and water conservation and create holistic platforms for younger generations to become conscious participants towards a sustainable ecosystem. The theme of the event was ‘Igniting Young Minds, Rejuvenating Rivers’.
Addressing the gathering, Shekhawat asserted “Water is not just an important factor or commodity but no life can be imagined without water and that makes effective water management absolutely essential”.
Shekhawat stated that ensuring the cleanliness and purity of River Ganga with the rejuvenation of rivers are the prime objectives of the Namami Gange Mission. “Water is a crucial factor in sustaining life. India’s cultural history saw water as the holiest source that sustains life in all forms, and over time that culture has eroded. We as a society have an immense responsibility to revive that culture.”
The Union Minister pointed out certain impacting factors on children’s development, including parents, who, in the Indian tradition, used to talk about various aspects of life including nature, culture, country, duties etc. Teachers, he said, also play an important role in creating an impact on the children and, therefore, it becomes, imperative for the teachers to inculcate respect towards natural resources as per our traditional wisdom and practices through educational frameworks.
The Union Minister said, likewise, celebrities, media, judiciary and other members of the civil society must come together and start discussing and debating issues related to our natural resources, especially water, to make India a water-wise country.
He suggested organising debates and other competitions in the universities to spread awareness of the importance of water conservation and river rejuvenation and urged the leading educators to strive to make their campuses green and water efficient.
Shedding light on the fact that the agriculture sector uses the bulk of India’s water resources, he said that demand-side management is the need of the hour. “The world is appreciating us and India has invested more than 240 billion dollars in the water sector but the challenge in front of us is also enormous and we must all play our part in contributing to conserving water and increasing water use efficiency,” he said, adding, “We are not the owners of our natural resources but only custodians and it is everyone’s duty to return to the future generation as we inherited from our forefathers.”
He reiterated the importance of the 5Ps espoused by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi to make such programmes successful including political will, public spending, partnership public participation and persuasion. He said that today nearly 50 universities are signing the MoU and it is not just 50 people joining hands but thousands who would eventually become part of this movement.
Delivering the keynote address, G. Asok Kumar said that everyone knows the importance of water. What we are looking for with various collaborations is to spread the net far and wide to catch as many ambassadors of water and rivers as we can. “Water sector was not given the attention it deserves and was viewed as just a water resource. This has changed with the vision of the Prime Minister, who has given a clarion call to make Jal Andolan a Jan Andolan,”
DG, NMCG said, adding, “It is the younger generations that will be bearing the brunt of the water scarcity and therefore it is most necessary to ignite them to start respecting water, which was ingrained in our traditional values. We have to bring back the respect towards water and rivers, which is there in our Puranas and our traditional wisdom.”
In the context of the collaboration between Namami Gange and academic institutions, DG, NMCG said that like Jan Bhagidari, today, we are moving forward in the direction of ‘Gyan Bhagidari’. He also drew similarities between the Jal Shakti and the power of the youth, both of which could go astray and wreak havoc if not channelized in a proper way.
DG, NMCG congratulated all the participants and dignitaries from the academia and urged them to take steps in the direction of bringing back the respect for water among the young students in their institutions. He also said that the Jal Shakti Abhiyan: Catch the Rain: Where it Falls, When it Falls campaign launched by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi on the occasion of the World Water Day 2021 is a noble way of nudging people to conserve more water. “More than 4.7 million water harvesting structures were made as part of that campaign,” he noted.
DG, NMCG informed that Namami Gange has been recognised by the United Nations as one of the top ten World Restoration Flagships and said that India also participated in the UN World Water Conference 2023 which was organised at the UN Headquarters in New York after a gap of more than 40 years.
“It was a rare privileged moment for us as people initially thought it was impossible to clean Ganga but a lot of success has been achieved in the mainstream of River Ganga evidenced in the form of improved water quality and thriving biodiversity, especially the Gangetic Dolphins. We were picked from among 170 countries around the globe The focus is now on the tributaries of Ganga,” he said.
DG, NMCG said at the global stage programmes like Swachh Bharat Mission, Jal Jeevan Mission and Namami Gange, covering various aspects of the river rejuvenation, are being acknowledged. He added that India needs more social skills, technology solutions, and data management to make further strides in the water sector.‏

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