This post has been self-published on Youth Ki Awaaz by Youth Ki Awaaz. Just like them, anyone can publish on Youth Ki Awaaz.

No Doubt Holi Is Just One Day, But Won’t You Need Water Tomorrow? [World Water Day Part 2]

More from Youth Ki Awaaz

By Dr. Amrit Patel:

Water for Irrigation: In the year 1947, the effects of the partition of the country and the drought caused a massive deficit in food supplies. Acknowledging irrigation as important infrastructure for developing agriculture, the country emphasized and prioritized the development of water resources program. From the First Plan, Government has invested about Rs. 2 lakh crore for creating irrigation facilities. The Union Government initiated the Accelerated Irrigation Benefit Program (AIBP) in 1996-7 for extending assistance for the completion of incomplete irrigation schemes. Under the AIBP, Rs.55,416 crore of central loan assistance /grant has been released up to 31 December 2012. An irrigation potential of 76,22,500 hectares is reported to have been created by States, from major / medium /minor irrigation projects under the AIBP till March 2011. Total irrigation potential so far created is around 108.2 million hectares by March 2010. The net irrigated area increased from 2085 million hectares in 1950-51 to 58.54 million hectares in 2004-05 whereas gross area under irrigation increased from 22.56 million hectares to 79.51 million hectares during the period. The gross irrigated area increased from 34% of gross cropped area in 1990-91 to 45.3% in 2008-09.

Fresh water supply

Groundwater: Around 70% of India’s irrigation needs and 80% of its domestic water supplies come from groundwater. A large part of agriculture is dependent on non-renewable groundwater. Water table in many States has been falling at an alarming rate. For decades, agricultural States of Punjab, Haryana, UP and Rajasthan encouraged farmers to sink tube wells to get free water for agricultural use. Power for pumping out this water was supplied virtually free or at heavily subsidized rates. This led to over-exploitation of groundwater and widespread environmental damage. Even this encouraged farmers to flood crops like rice, wheat and fruit trees with water indiscriminately impacting on soil/environmental degradation and low crop productivity. Rate of groundwater depletion raced faster than the rate of replenishment in many States. NASA scientists in the US, using satellites to track groundwater loss in India’s north-western grain basket have found that there has been an average 33 cubic km a year drop in the water table in the region, much higher than the estimates of the Government of India. The satellite study has revealed a loss of 109 cubic km groundwater in Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan over the six-rear period between August 2002 and October 2008, twice the capacity of India’s largest surface water reservoir, the Upper Wainganga in MP. To regulate exploitation of groundwater by legislation in the light of the National Ground Water document “Dynamics of Ground Water Resources of India” brought out by the Central Ground Water Board in 2005 which revealed extremely alarming & deteriorating condition of ground water in country’s 1,645 blocks as compared to 4,078 safe blocks. There are 839 blocks over exploited, 226 blocks critical, 550 blocks semi-critical and 30 blocks saline. Over exploitation of groundwater must be regulated strictly.

Serious Issues: India needs to seriously demonstrate the political commitment and administrative skill and initiate strategic actions to address following serious issues, in the light of pressing needs viz.

[i] Fast changing water scenario as a result of increasing population, rising demand for irrigation of high-yielding varieties of crops, rapid urbanization and industrialization, electricity generation, impact of global warming and comparatively low average rainfall

[ii] Mid-term appraisal report of the eleventh five year plan that recognized, based on persuasive scientific evidence that India’s water situation is even more serious than originally assessed.

[iii] The change in water usage pattern being predicted in Agriculture, industry and domestic from 89%, 6% & 5% of the total respectively in 2000 to 81%, 11, & 8% in 2025 and 71%, 18% & 11% respectively in 2050.

[iv] The groundwater depletion at the rate observed by the NASA scientists in the North-western region and warns that the region may, within the next few years, experience a severe shortage of potable water, reduce agricultural productivity and extended socio-economic-politico stress.

[v] Irrigation potential of 140 million hectares that can be created against the current level of 109 million hectares created.

[vi] Significantly utilizing the irrigation potential from 80 million hectares to 109 million hectares.

Incomplete projects: There has been an increase in the number of projects awaiting completion since the end of IV Plan. The backlog has remained between 500 and 600 projects since then. The backlog declined at the end of VII Plan but increased again to the present level. Currently, there are 557 irrigation projects yet to be completed. Andhra Pradesh has completed only 17 projects out of the allotted 105 projects, followed by Karnataka [33/305], Maharashtra [94/186] and Madhya Pradesh [90/242] projects. Major factors responsible for this include, inter alia, improper synchronization of project components and delayed tendering and contract management, land acquisition, delays in construction of railway/highway crossing.

Time and Cost overruns: Worst part of the inordinate delay in completion of projects has been the time and cost overruns. A study by the Planning Commission on cost overruns found that for a representative 12 projects, there was an escalation of the order of 138% over the original cost [i.e. escalation of 1.38 times the approved cost]. There was a very high cost escalation of the order of 1,000% and more for 24 out of the 151 major projects taken up earlier than 1980 and the average escalation is around 200% for major projects starting from 1985. In the case of medium projects, there are 24 projects with a cost escalation of 500% or more.

Underutilization: The gap between the irrigation potential created [IPC] and the irrigation potential utilized [IPU] is steadily increasing from the First Plan. Currently IPU is 80 million hectares [73.39%] as against IPC of 109 million hectares. Factors responsible for low utilization of irrigation as studied by Indian Institute of Management [Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Kolkata and Lucknow] focus on lack of proper operation and maintenance, incomplete distribution systems, non-completion of CAD works, changes from the initially designed cropping pattern and diversion of irrigable land for other purpose, among others. Inadequate provision of budget provision for operation and maintenance of the irrigation system is significantly responsible for underutilization followed by non-completion of distributaries, minors, field channels and on-farm development.

You must be to comment.
  1. Anjan Singh

    in indian society one must have to ignore such things,u can’t leave the traditions behind,no one can’t jst stop playing holi,better we must focus on minimal use and how to recycle those waste water of holi .

More from Youth Ki Awaaz

Similar Posts


By Sheeva Yamuna

By Charkha features

Wondering what to write about?

Here are some topics to get you started

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

Sign up for the Youth Ki Awaaz Prime Ministerial Brief below