New Delhi: Jal Shakti Minister of the newly formed union cabinet, Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, assured that the government has decided to increase the coverage of piped water in Indian households to 100 per cent from the current 18 per cent by 2024.

Shekhawat formulated the plan under ‘Nal Se Jal’ mission which aims to provide clean drinking tap water to the 14 crore households in India.

Insisting that water is a state subject as per the Constitution, the minister sought collective efforts and a public movement to achieve the target.

“It is Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s resolution to provide drinking water to all by 2024. The plan is to provide piped water to every household in the country,” he said.

However, several parts of the country face severe water shortage every year as the conditions of water resources have significantly depleted.

Addressing the concern, Shekhawat said, “We want to work with states as part of cooperative federalism to deal with the issue of water shortage. We also need a public movement to make this mission successful.”

“We need a holistic and integrated approach to address the issue. We need to keep it above politics,” he added.

Shekhawat said Sikkim had 99 per cent coverage of piped water to households, however, states like Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Odisha, Chhattisgarh, and Jharkhand have below five per cent. Moreover, Punjab and Haryana consume water that is twice the amount they store and harvest.

He said, “In Himachal Pradesh, Punjab and other areas, there is surplus water in the dams and reservoirs, more than what is necessary. So I think the reports of the water crisis in dams aren’t that worrying as being portrayed by the media.”

Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his Lok Sabha Elections 2019 campaign had promised to integrate all ministries looking after water-related issues and put it under one ministry – the Jal Shakti ministry.

With IANS inputs