|After two consecutive years of weak monsoons, a quarter of the India's population is affected by a severe drought. With nearly 50 per cent of India grappling with drought-like conditions, the situation has been particularly grim in 2019 in western and southern states that received below average rainfall.|
|According to the Composite Water Management Index (CWMI) report released by the Niti Aayog in 2018, 21 major cities (Delhi, Bengaluru, Chennai, Hyderabad and others) are racing to reach zero groundwater levels by 2020, affecting access for 100 million people. However, 12 per cent of India's population is already living the 'Day Zero' scenario.|
|The CWMI report also states that by 2030, the country's water demand is projected to be twice the available supply, implying severe water scarcity for hundreds of millions of people and an eventual six per cent loss in the country's GDP.|
|Moreover, the climate change would exacerbate India's current water scarcity in the coming decades.|
|According to a report by the World Bank, a global mean warming of 2°C above pre-industrial levels, the mismatch between water demand and supply will increase dramatically and will have serious implications on India's food security.|
|The roots of the current water crisis do not lie in a deficient or delayed monsoon as is being made out by the Indian media. In fact, it is years of government neglect, wrong incentives and outright misuse of the country's water resources which has led to the current crisis.|
|Although, the country has witnessed a dramatic increase in water demand for all uses: agricultural, industrial, and domestic, agricultural irrigation accounts for 90% of India's freshwater withdrawals.|
|Therefore, any serious effort towards water management in the country should focus on the management of agricultural irrigation in India. India's annual agricultural water withdrawal is the highest in the world followed by China and the United States.|
|Over the years, India has witnessed a major shift in the sources of irrigation. The share of canal irrigation in net irrigated area has declined rapidly and groundwater irrigation now covers more than half of the total irrigated area.|
|It is this overexploitation of groundwater resources, more so, in the north-western part of the country which is one of the main reasons for India's water crisis.|
|Moreover, groundwater is used to cultivate some of the most water intensive crops like paddy and sugar cane in states like Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, and Maharashtra. Rice, which is India's main food crop consumes about 3,500 litres of water for a kilogram of grain produced;|
|Therefore, state governments should encourage cultivation of less water intensive crops like pulses, millets and oilseeds in water stressed regions and water guzzler crops, particularly rice should be grown only in water rich areas.|
Correct Answer: B
Solution :(b) Therefore, any serious effort towards water management in the country should focus on the management of agricultural irrigation in India. Indias annual agricultural water withdrawal is the highest in the world followed by China and the United States.
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