As we know, Food Security Bill was passed in both houses of Parliament a few days ago and with presidential assent the Act will replace the ordinance. Despite all its shortcomings, the act is expected to benefit a vast majority of the population who seems to be guaranteed with some food to live, though not with bread and butter. Despite mixed responses from economists, socialists and politicians, the Act, at least, pleases so many people at such a colossal task which can be profitable with a competent distribution system sans malpractice or mal-intention.
So, now, we expect to have an India where nobody dies without food. Despite interruptions on various issues rocking the Parliament, consensus of the rarest type was seen with all opposition parties supporting the bill, especially BJP. It seems that Indian democracy has come of age and, as coalition politics is going to the rules of the country and not the exception, such welfare measures concerning people at larger, augur well for a matured democracy in coming times.
Water scarcity in India:
All the opposition parties deserve a "hurray" in the present rock-role parliamentary democracy of India. In India water scarcity is no less essential than food security. Rather more significant is clean and bacteria-free water which poor people and villagers never find. This set of people becomes vulnerable to water-borne diseases which vary from severe to critical in nature with special emphasis on premature death which awaits them very close to their huts and hamlets. Our politicians do not seem to be highlighting this problem and bringing it to a halt. As per the World Bank estimate, 70% of our villagers and 45% of our urban population are deprived of pure drinking water. More than 6% of our GDP is wasted due to the slipshod supply of drinking water.
The situation is more alarming in tribal-dominated areas. The percentage of exclusion from uncontaminated drinking water in these areas is close to 90% or may be 100% to tell the truth. The mineral content of the water in such areas exceeds 500mg per liter. With no system in place, villagers have to drink from the same pond where they leave their faeces, take their bath, wash their clothes and dishes. Dead animals are at times found floating in water which is used for cooking food and drinking water.
Pure drinking water:
All mud and debris of the village make inroads into the ponds with rain water polluting it altogether. According to a study conducted by WHO, nearly 150 cores of people in the world are affected by infectious water-borne diseases, of which 70 lakhs die every year. 60% of infanticides are due to polluted drinking water. Nature has given us free water, but to make it bacteria-free is our duty and concern. The ground water and drinking water, the nature has given us are not going to be adequate in the near future. Even now, the shortage is acute and day by day more and more dearth of water is haunting the world.
The per capita drinking water available in our country is low. While 17.5% of world population and 11% of domestic animals live in India alone, the percentage of drinking water is only 4% and land occupation is 2.4%. While consuming our country’s per capita drinking water to that of USA, we find that it is 583 liters and 83 against. It is much below the accepted world bench mark of 1500litres. From the above examples, one should not conclude that the availability and supply of pure drinking water in urban areas are satisfactory. Invisible bacteria and minerals in the drinking water provided by the urban local authorities are too numerous dangerous. Even visible materials and small insects are very often found floating in this water. Both in urban and in rural areas, people are compelled to consume water available for their use despite many of them knowing that the drinking water available for their use despite many of them knowing that the drinking water is not pure.
Solutions and suggestions:
The solution to this alarming problem of impure drinking water is various folds. At the government level, more and more bore wells, wells, ponds, etc. should be erected in the nook and corner of the localities without any hara-kiri being done in the matter of digging as shallow tube wells or wells are going to be dried up in summer. As more supply of drinking water does not make it authentic, aqua guards at all homes, irrespective of economic criteria should be provided for a healthy India. The cost factor is not a problem as it was not a problem in the case of food security bill. After all, our government is a welfare government. If it thinks of providing laptops to students free of cost, similarly free aqua guards will make India stronger and excellent.
People, especially those living in rural and tribal areas, should be taught to drink boiled and cooled water. Of course, battery operated aqua guards should be devised and provided as many villagers do not get electricity for a weak or fortnight or, if at all electricity is there, it is do not get electricity for a week or fortnight or, if at all electricity is there, it is only for a couple of hours or so during a day. The time has come to strengthen the backbone of the country, especially of the lower-income-group of people. The government should be geared up to come up with water security bill which will see strong, disease-free and vibrant Indians advising the country’s human resources.
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