India Water Impact Summit continues with many more experts from India and abroad sharing their insights on the topic of conservation and development. Experts from Norway joined their Indian counterparts to discuss ‘Arth Ganga – River Conservation Synchronised Development’ on 4th day of the summit.
In a session on Sludge Management, Dr. B. Bala Bhaskar, Ambassador of India to Norway said, “We need to take advantage of best practises of Norway in India and see how they can be adapted to local needs.” He extended his support to NMCG and cGanga. Ms. Karina Asbjørnsen, Norwegian Diplomat in India shared that Norway intends to deepen the relationship with India especially in the prevention of climate change and conservation of the environment. “Our mandate to work with India is loud and clear. We are looking forward to deeper engagement,” she added. Mr. Ole Henaes, Head of Innovation Norway, expressed keen interest in working in India and informed that they have opened a centre in Delhi.
In a key development Dr. Ola Stedje, Research Scientist, announced that his company has signed an MOU for development of sludge management framework in India jointly by The Norwegian Institute of Bioeconomy Research (NIBIO) and cGanga. This will be a major breakthrough for both organisations. Highlighting peculiar problems in India, Shri. U. P. Singh, Secretory, Jal Shakti Ministry said that India does not have a shortage of water but we need to improve water management and explained several initiatives in wastewater management & need to develop further business modules by cGanga Norwegian Counterpart. Shri Rajiv Ranjan Mishra, Director General NMCG promised to arrange a detailed interaction between Norwegian technology companies and Indian business leaders in water sector to explore joint projects to take advantage of Norwegian technology.
Day – 4 also had discussions revolving around “River Conservation Synchronised Agriculture”. Ms. Alka Bhargav, Additional Secretary, Department of Agriculture while explaining effect of agricultural practises on health of local water bodies said, “It is essential that traditional wisdom and modern science work together to have river development synchronised agriculture.” She also briefed how the farmer’s bargaining power has increased with the formation of Farmer Producers Organisations.Ms. Neelam Patel, Sr. Adviser (agriculture), NITI Ayog, emphasized the need of informing, communicating and training farmers about agroecological practises and promoting Farmer Producers Organisation. Also spoke about leveraging digital technologies and promoting agri-tousim. Agri-tourism can play an instrumental role in making people especially children value farmers and their hard work.
Stating that agriculture is one of the main activities for which water is extracted from the rivers, Mr. Mishra, Director General, NMCG said, “We are working with farmers to educate them about water use efficiency.” He also shared that in collaboration with Ministry of Agriculture, NMCG is also trying to promote organic farming, natural farming and zero budget farming. Organic farming has been scaled up multi-fold this year with Uttarakhand having 50,000 Ha. under organic farming from 1000 Ha earlier and Uttar Pradesh is having more than 35,000 Ha integrated organic farming projects.
India Water Impact 2020 is a five-day long summit, hosting experts and academicians from all over the world to discuss and debate issues related to water conservation, water security and river rejuvenation. The event is co-organised by National Mission for Clean Ganga and Centre for Ganga River Basin Management and Studies.