India is currently facing its worst water crisis in its history threatening millions of lives, a first of a kind ‘composite water management index’ by Niti Aayog said on Thursday. The water management index ranked 24 states on the basis of nine broad indicators, based on data for 2015-16 and 2016-17, and Gujarat topped the index, the report stated. Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Maharashtra followed Gujarat on the index while Tripura ranked as the best among Northeastern and hill states.Union Minister for Water Resources Nitin Gadkari, Niti Aayog Vice Chairman Rajiv Kumar and Niti Aayog’s Chief Executive Officer Amitabh Kant released the report. Kant said the Aayog will continue the index and ranking in the coming years.States provided data to the Aayog and international development consulting company IPE Global validated the data, the report stated. West Bengal, Jammu and Kashmir, Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram and Manipur are not feature in the report as they did not provide data, Niti Aayog CEO Kant said. The report also does not reflect water scarcity issues from Gujarat this year as the index measured water management data till 2017.Worryingly, some of the most populous states in the country such as Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Rajasthan and Haryana were the worst performers on the government think-tank index.Ground water, restoration of water sources, irrigation, farm practices, drinking water in rural and urban areas and watershed development were the broad indicators.”Water (scarcity) is our biggest crisis. We can see from the report that those who have done well in water management have done well in agriculture too whereas those who have neglected water management and conservation have done poorly in agriculture. States that do well in this field should be commended and there should be pressure on those doing badly,” Gadkari said.The report stated that 600 million people in India faced high to extreme water stress and about three-fourth of the households in the country do not have drinking water at their premise. With nearly 70% of water being contaminated, India is placed at 120th among 122 countries in the water quality index.”As per the National Commission for integrated water resource development of ministry of water resources, the water requirement by 2050 in high use scenario is likely to be a milder 1,180 billion cubic metre, whereas the present-day availability is 695 BCM.” the report added.Guj Tops IndexThe index on water management ranked 24 states on the basis of nine broad indicators.Based on data for 2015-16 and 2016-17, the index has put Gujarat on top of list.UP, Bihar are among the worst performers.
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