Niti Aayog headed by Amitabh Kant on June 14, released a report stating that India is suffering from the worst water crisis in its history with about as many as 60 crore people facing high to extreme water stress and about 2 Lakh people dying every year due to inadequate access to safe water. The report titled h Composite Water Management Index has been released by Ministry of Water Resources, River Development & Ganga Rejuvenation. Speaking to media, Nitin Gadhkari said that the crisis is going to get worse in the near future.

By 2030, India’s water demand is expected to increase two-folds, implying severe water scarcity for hundreds of millions of people and an eventual 6% loss in the country’s GDP, the report stated.

Citing numbers by independent agencies of repute, the report pointed out that around 70% of water is being contaminated. The report further suggests that India is placed at 120th amongst 122 countries in the water quality index.

The report further stressed that there is a dire need to deepen understanding of water resources and usage. Citing data by agencies like Dalburg Analysis, FAO and UNICEF, the report stated that 40% of the population will have no access to clean drinking water by 2030 and 21 cities, including New Delhi, Bengaluru and Hyderabad, will run out of groundwater by 2020, affecting 100 million people.

Not only that, the organisation has also ranked all the states through an index on the composite water management, comprising 9 broad sectors with 28 different indicators covering various aspects of groundwater, restoration of water bodies, irrigation, farm practices, drinking water, policy and governance.

Meanwhile, Gujarat has topped the composite water management index list, while tribal-state Jharkhand was named as the worst performer. Notably, Gujarat is followed by Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Maharashtra on the index.

Also, in the northeastern and Himalayan states, Tripura has been adjudged as the top state in 2016-17 followed by Himachal Pradesh, Sikkim and Assam. As per the report, 52% of India’s agricultural area remains dependent on rainfall, so the future expansion of irrigation needs to be focused on last-mile efficiency.

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