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Govt launches campaign to include women in water governance

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The Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, Government of India (MoHUA) is launching a progressive initiative “Women for Water, Water for Women Campaign” under its flagship scheme – Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT), in partnership with the Ministry’s National Urban Livelihood Mission and Odisha Urban Academy as the knowledge partner. This campaign celebrates “Jal Diwali” and will continue from, 7th to 9th November, 2023.
The campaign aims to provide a platform for inclusion of women in water governance. Through this campaign, women will be given first-hand knowledge about water treatment processes by visiting Water Treatment Plants in their respective cities. The purpose is to educate them about the vital procedures involved in delivering clean and safe drinking water to households. Additionally, women will gain insight into water quality testing protocols which ensure that citizens get water of the required quality. The goal of the campaign is to instil a sense of ownership and belonging among women towards water infrastructure.

Water Treatment Plants in India

India has more than 3,000 Water Treatment Plants, with a designed water treatment capacity of more than 65,000 MLD and operational capacity of more than 55,000 MLD. During this campaign, women Self Help Groups (SHGs) will visit more than 550 water treatment plants, with a combined operational capacity of more than 20,000 MLD (more than 35% of the country’s total).

Why women

Women across India play a significant role in household water management. By empowering women with knowledge about water treatment processes and infrastructure, the government aims to enhance their ability to ensure access to safe and clean drinking water for their households. The campaign aims to address issues of gender equality by promoting inclusivity and diversity in sectors traditionally dominated by men.
The phase I of “Water for Women, Women for Water Campaign”, “Jal Diwali” shall witness participation from all States/ UTs (barring the 5 States under Model Code of Conduct), with an expected participation of more than 15,000 SHG women, nationwide.

Focus Areas

The focus areas of the campaign include:
Familiarizing the women with functioning of Water Treatment Plants & water testing facilities
Promote inclusivity & involvement through souvenirs & articles created by Women SHGs
Familiarizing & educating the women about Atal Mission for
Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT) scheme & its impact on water infrastructure
The campaign aims to benefit women by increasing awareness and knowledge on water treatment, developing a sense of ownership and responsibility among them, promotion of inclusivity, empowerment of SHGs, positive community impact and model for future initiatives.
State and city officials from AMRUT and National Urban Livelihood Mission will be facilitating these visits by identifying WTPs.

CSR initiatives for safe drinking water

Several Indian PSUs as well as private companies are working to ensure safe drinking water in areas which are deficient. In this context, The CSR Journal takes a look into some of the recent CSR initiatives aimed at ensuring access to safe drinking water especially in rural areas across India.

CSR of NTPC Kaniha

Talcher Super Thermal Power Plant known as NTPC Kaniha, the second largest power plant in the country under its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiative addresses the pressing issue of water scarcity in nearby villages. As part of this initiative, NTPC Kaniha is facilitating the supply of safe drinking water through tankers to 24 villages in the Project vicinity area since March this year.
Drinking water from NTPC Kaniha Township is delivered to villages twice every day in the mornings and evenings through 8 dedicated water tankers. Collectively, the tankers dispense around 2.5 lakh litres of potable water every day. Twenty four villages across eight Gram Panchayats including Kaniha, Bijigol, Gadasila, Derang, Kamarei, Hariharpur, Badagundari and Kakudia are benefiting from this ongoing programme.

CSR of Hyundai Motor India Ltd.

In August this year, Hyundai Motor India Foundation installed AquaKraft Drinking Water Purifiers across 50 government schools in 7 districts of Madhya Pradesh State which is expected to benefit over 30000 children along with over 3000 teaching and non-teaching staff. This programme was implemented under Hyundai’s CSV philosophy of ‘CONTINUE’ and ‘Safe Drinking Water for a Better Future’ initiative by the Hyundai Motor India Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Hyundai Motor India Ltd.
The ‘Safe Water’ Initiative was implemented basis of a survey that revealed that the majority of schools in the region had TDS levels ranging from 400-700 mg, against the permissible limit of 500 mg, in the drinking water available to them. School administrations at each of the 50 locations were sensitized to the overall benefit of installing water purification systems within the premises and with their active cooperation the initiative is being successfully implemented in the following 7 districts of Madhya Pradesh.

CSR of Piramal Group and Standard Chartered Bank

Piramal Foundation and Standard Chartered Bank recently announced that they together, cater to 5 lakh beneficiaries in rural areas to provide safe drinking water through the Foundation’s water initiative, Piramal Sarvajal and Enable Health Society. The programme, led by 50% women, members of Village Water Committee (VWC), has now evolved into an integrated water management program focusing on water security and source sustainability in 123 villages and 25 schools across seven states.
To counter severe water crisis, the programme catalyzed community ownership by creating village level institutions to plan and oversee water conservation efforts along with decentralized drinking water units, promoting collective action towards water security in Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, and Rajasthan.
Currently, there are 417 women VWC members leading the grassroots governance and are part of managing the solution in their villages committing towards water conservation, agri efficiency and greywater management. The programme has appointed and trained 34 female operators who now serve as local change-makers, taking responsibility for promoting water-efficient practices in villages.

CSR of Jindal Steel & Power

In an attempt to benefit underprivileged communities and various construction areas, JSP Foundation, the social arm of Jindal Steel & Power (JSP) introduced a Chilled Drinking Water Van in Bhubaneswar, in August this year.
The purpose is to ensure access to safe and chilled drinking water to the most vulnerable sections of the society and workers at various construction sites. The van has a capacity of 1,500 litres and serves water on a daily basis following a schedule and route as approved by the Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC). Notably, this is the fourth chilled drinking water van that has been initiated in Odisha by the JSP Foundation.