Q. 1 – Apart from a host of other benefits, cleaning of river Ganga is also an economic agenda. Elucidate. – 250 words)
The River Ganga is important not only for its cultural and spiritual significance but also because it hosts more than 40% of the country’s population. Addressing the Indian community at Madison Square Garden in New York in 2014, the Prime Minister Narendra Modi had said, “If we are able to clean it, it will be a huge help for the 40 per cent population of the country. So, cleaning the Ganges is also an economic agenda.”
Ganga basin is the largest river basin in India in terms of catchment area, constituting 26% of the country’s land mass (8,61,404 Sq. km). It touches 118 towns and 1657 Gram Panchayats across 66 districts of 5 states of India. The basin of the river extends over India, Tibet, Nepal and Bangladesh of which about 79% area of Ganga basin is in India. The basin covers 10 states viz., Uttarakhand, U.P., M.P., Rajasthan, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Bihar, West Bengal and National Capital Territory of Delhi.
Some of the economic benefits that can be generated by cleaning the Ganga are:
- The economic value of non-contaminated irrigation water for the cultivation of agricultural crops;
- The economic value of reduced flood losses by de-siltation and reduction in water weed growth.
- The economic value in increase in tourism, recreation and transportation over the stretch of river Ganga.
- The economic value of increase in aquatic population like fish, shrimp etc. by reduction in the pollution in river Ganga and thereafter improving the living standard of community relying on it.
- The economic value by improving drinking water supply, industrial water supply and reducing the stress on other resources like groundwater.
- Treatment and economical use of waste, as a means of assisting resource recovery.