Published On: Fri, Apr 15th, 2016

India Water Foundation bags grant from United Nations

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logoBy Subhransu Panda; New Delhi: India Water Foundation a non-profit civil society and think tank has been granted a Special Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) of the United Nations since 2016.

The activities of IWF were designed to create an inclusive culture that is the basis for global harmony and progress. This approach has gained worldwide recognition and reflects in Dr. Kumar’s conviction that water related problems cannot be tackled through technological and engineering solutions alone; there is need to include ‘Soft Approach’ of capacity building of the officials and the people who are well informed and aware, as main stakeholders. This capacity building is facilitated through sensitizing, incentivizing and galvanize the people. In water sector, the stakeholders are cognizant about the water related issues like water conservation, judicious use of water resources and the importance of keeping water resources free from contamination. IWF is engaged in generating heightened public awareness about water and environment related issues in Asia-Pacific region regarding the vital role water and environment play in human lives, its impact on health, economic growth, livelihoods of the people and calamities that wreak havoc due to non-judicious harnessing of these natural resources. Generation of this awareness is facilitated through seminars, conferences, symposia, outreach and personal contact programs at grassroot level besides other activities.

India, once a water-surplus country, entails the likelihood of becoming a water-deficit country in the near future in the wake of fast depletion of its groundwater resources and pollution of surface water resources including its river systems. However, this water crisis is predominantly a manmade problem owing to extremely poor management, lack of focused and unambiguous laws. Absence of environment friendly disposal of industrial and human waste/garbage is further aggravating this water supply crunch, corruption is having a multiplying effect on this malady. People alone have enough power to prevent this man-made water scarcity from devastating India’s Agriculture and in turn the entire economy. Realizing this potential of the people, Dr Arvind Kumar formed India Water Foundation in March 2008 as a Civil Society to act as catalyst to galvanize the people in water sector by generating heightened awareness amongst them about water conservation, judicious use of water, inculcating in them the habit of rainwater harvesting and keeping surface and groundwater resources free from pollution.

Recognizing the communication gap between the Government as policy-maker-cum-custodian of water resources and the people as stakeholders and end-users of water resources, Dr Arvind Kumar came to the conclusion that the issues surrounding India’s water scarcity – demand and supply, management, pollution, impact of climate change, and solutions – could be tackled by the civil society which should serve as a catalyst between the government and the people as the main stakeholders, by establishing close rapport between them through convergence, synergy mode and involving people at the grassroots

level in water related issues. With a view to establish close rapport between and amongst different ministries/departments of the Union Government as well as between Central Government and State government(s), Dr Arvind Kumar has written numerous letters between 2009 and 2016. Dr Kumar’s efforts proved instrumental in initiating the two official level meetings on inter-sectoral convergence of Ministry of Water Resource & Ministry of Rural Development, GOI, on water-related issues on 30 April, 2009.These meetings were attended by the Ministry of Water Resources, Ministry of Rural Development, Ministry of Environment, Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Health besides other ministries of the Government of India.

Through his various communications addressed to the Government of India and through his various articles in leading magazines, Dr Arvind Kumar has always emphasized on bringing water from the State List of the Indian Constitution to the Concurrent List to make Right to Water a Fundamental Right. The Government has reportedly prepared a Framework for Bill on specifically on this subject.

Innovative concepts, practices in water, environment and sanitation sectors pioneered by Dr Arvind Kumar have found expressions in over 7,000 communications addressed to various ministries of Central and State Governments, different agencies of UN and other international bodies. In excess of 300 articles have been contributed by him in various journals, magazines, through regular online blogs, presentations and through participations at National and International seminars and workshops. He is responsible for editing a very important joint publication by SAARC Centre and India Water Foundation titled “SAARC Outlook on Water-Energy-Food Nexus in SAARC Region”.

India water foundation as a national key resource center for Ministry of Drinking water and Sanitation GOI has recently conducted twelve training workshops in various states on “Application and Uses of Hydro-geomorphological Maps for Groundwater Prospection” and a National Workshop in Delhi in March 2016 on “Application and Uses of Hydro-geomorphological Maps for Groundwater Prospection and Linkages” attended by six central ministries, various state governments, more than 42 national and international agencies.

Dr Arvind Kumar inputs have enabled the government of Meghalaya to institutionalize the Basin Management mechanism, judicious use of natural resources, including water; address climate and ecosystem related issues through its Integrated Basin Development and Livelihood Programme (IBDLP) to promote gender equity, alleviate poverty and improve livelihoods of the native people, provide proper sanitation by stopping open defecation as a result the cleanest village in Asia is in Meghalaya. . As water is an essential component of power generation and food production, therefore, India Water Foundation is also engaged in ensuring environmental security, water security, energy security and food security which are essential for sustainable development. Dr Kumar has played important role in promoting water- energy-food nexus approach in Meghalaya and this nexus approach is an integral part of the government policy now after his untiring efforts of last six years.

Dr Kumar’s focussed efforts in hosting Regional Workshop on Water Quality Monitoring in the Asia- Pacific Region in collaboration with UNEP-GEMS Water at New Delhi on 5-8 November 2012 had a salutary impact in forging of bilateral synergy between various institutions in water quality monitoring mechanism, exchange of data on water quality, and networking at national and international levels.

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