We are sharing with you an excerpt of a speech given by the Founder Chairman of the company.
Lecture delivered at, Indian Institute of Industrial Engineers, Nashik, Maharashtra, 16 September 2001.
Water is the elixir of life. It can, and it has, made or marred nations. Why only nations, water has nurtured or wiped out entire civilizations. Man is made up of 65-70 per cent water, so it can make or break even individuals!
More than 97 per cent of the earth’s water is in the ocean bodies. Out of the 3 per cent usable water, 2 per cent is in the form of Arctic and Antarctic ice. Only around 1 per cent is fresh, liquid water in lakes, rivers and underground aquifers. Even out of this, 0.6 per cent is more than 3,000 feet under the ground level.
Effectively, we have only 0.4 per cent of total water on earth at our disposal, which we have to share between agricultural, industrial and human needs including developmental needs. Out of these sectors, agriculture is the biggest consumer of water, consuming anywhere between 65 to 85 per cent of the fresh water that is available for human consumption. If even 10 per cent of water is saved in the agriculture sector, farm productivity will go up by 65 per cent for irrigated land and by 35 per cent for rain-fed land.
It is in this context that water should be treated as vital and holy. That is what our civilization has done; there is a deep scientific connotation to our religious practice of worshipping our rivers.
Ancient civilizations were always found near perennial water bodies, and they used water with skill and ingenuity. The Sumerians built the Nahrawan canal in as early as 4,000 BC and it sustained millions of people. However, this race gradually perished around 2,400 BC mainly because of salinity and silting of arable land due to misuse of water. Our very own Indus Valley civilization stretched right up to the Thar Desert, with the Sarawati river flowing through it. Sadly, the river dried up without a trace. I say, if you want to kill your enemy, separate him from water, and the job will be done without firing a single bullet.
Over the years, desert-like situations have been created because of deforestation, careless agriculture, indiscriminate grazing and recurring droughts. In Northern India, seven million hectares of once-fertile land has become totally non-arable, and the yield of millions of more hectares has decreased drastically. One-third of the total agricultural land in India has been degraded to low-yielding or no-yielding land. On the other hand, the groundwater situation is alarming. The demand-supply gap is increasing at a shocking rate, because the rate of water being drawn from underground and its rate of natural recharging is hopelessly imbalanced. In coastal areas, over-exploitation of underground water is leading to penetration of seawater into the underground reservoirs. Surface and ground water pollution is compounding the problem. The basic reason for this plight is that we have been wasteful where we could have been efficient and judicious.
As far as the share of water for agricultural irrigation is concerned, this will increase drastically due to the rising trend of harvesting water-intensive crops. For example, cotton and sugarcane require approximately 30,000 and 40,000 cubic metres of water for production of every tonne. In contrast, wheat requires only 4,000 cubic metres of water per tonne, while potatoes and onions don’t require even one-third of it. In terms of per-acre water requirement, it is 120 centimetres for sugarcane and 30 centimetres for cotton. In comparison, wheat and other cereals need 16 centimetres, and oilseeds need just 14 . Effectively, when we export cotton and sugarcane, we are exporting water, which is already a scarce commodity at home and in the world.
This post is an excerpt from “The Enlightened Entrepreneur”, which is a compilation of lectures that Dr. Bhavarlal Jain has given over thirty years. Replete with instances and expositions of what constitutes enlightened entrepreneurship: a notion that Jain iterates, must be embraced by each and every entrepreneur. This book provides invaluable insights into what successes and failures mean to a businessperson, the tenets of effective leadership and transformational businesses.