The Centre has directed all states to prepare a weekly action plan on shortage and scarcity of water, conservation efforts, and usage of existing water resources optimally.
The directive was issued by Prime Minister Narendra Modi during a series of meetings with chief ministers of the 10 states facing drought and drinking water shortage. A drinking water crisis is affecting 340 million Indians.
In the first phase, Modi met the chief ministers of Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra and Karnataka, who collectively demanded Rs 27,000 crore relief.
"The states were requested to conduct a drive for construction of farm ponds and adopt micro-irrigation techniques," Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan, who participated in all the meetings, said briefing reporters today.
He said states were also told to encourage farmers to adopt drip irrigation for sugarcane, which has been blamed for the water crisis in the Vidarbha and Marathwada regions of Maharashtra.
State can also incentivise farmers for drip irrigation like Maharashtra, which has directed sugar mills to accord priority to cane grown this way.
Gujarat and Karnataka have also agreed in principle to promote drip irrigation. The prime minister also directed states to number all water bodies by assigning them a unique identity.
The states assured Modi preparatory steps for water conservation would be completed before the onset of the monsoon.
The prime minister also directed rainwater harvesting in buildings be made compulsory in urban areas and states should encourage alternative sources of income for farmers like bee, pearls and prawn cultivation.
The chief ministers of Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Telangana, Jharkhand and Gujarat participated in the one-on-one meetings with Modi.