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"India has more than 18 per cent of world's population, but only 4 per cent of it is usable fresh water resources. India is already a water stressed nation and with further reduction in per capita availability of water, we will soon be a water scarce nation," he said.
It is estimated that by 2050, 17 per cent of the population will be under absolute water scarcity. "Managing groundwater is now a high priority," he said.
Mukherjee said the country has to use the available water resources wisely, recycle waste water, increase water-use efficiency, recharge the groundwater and ensure efficient sanitation facilities to entire rural and urban population.
The President requested all the Governors to pay special attention to Nirmal Bharat Abhiyaan which has been launched by the government to ensure adequate sanitation facilities in all Gram Panchayats along with the provision of drinking water so that the villagers may reap the full benefit of improved health and better quality of life.
He said it should be the endeavour of Governors as Chancellors of universities to promote access to higher education with equity and excellence.
The President called on Governors to address faculty shortage, improve quality of research and inspire a culture of innovation, increase the use of technology for improving access to higher education as also to improve quality; and have better linkages with industry and make education more employment oriented.
Referring to the day-long discussions the President had with Vice-Chancellors of 40 central universities on February 5, he asked Governors to organise similar meetings with VC's of state universities.
The agenda for the two-day conference includes internal and external security and strengthening the delivery systems of government programmes among others. The conference will be addressed by ministers tomorrow morning and by the Prime Minister and Vice President in afternoon.