In order translate the Government of India’s vision of providing clean tap water to every household in the country by 2024, Jal Jeevan Mission, working with speed and scale, has achieved a milestone of providing tap water supply to every household in one lakh villages across India, in a period of 23 months. At the launch of this programme, out of 18.94 crore rural households in country, only 3.23 crore (17 percent) had tap water connections. Despite Covid-19 pandemic and lockdown disruptions, Jal Jeevan Mission provided 4.49 crore tap water connections and has also made 50 thousand gram panchayats ‘Har Ghar Jal’ by providing tap water supply to every household in these panchayats, Ministry of Jal Shakti has said in a press statement.
Today tap water supply has reached to 7.72 crore (40.77 percent) households. Goa, Telangana, Andaman & Nicobar Islands and Puducherry have achieved 100 percent tap water supply in rural areas and has become ‘Har Ghar Jal’. At present, 71 districts, 824 blocks, 50,309 Gram Panchayats and 100,275 villages have achieved the target of ‘Har Ghar Jal’, the ministry has said.
Announced by the Prime Minister, Narendra Modi on 15th August 2019, in a paradigm shift from earlier water supply programmes, Jal Jeevan Mission focuses on water service delivery rather than providing mere water supply infrastructure. Under JJM, aim is to ensure that every household irrespective of its socio-economic condition, has tap water supply. The JJM is built on the principle of ‘no one is left out’ ensuring poorest of the poor, weaker and marginalised sections of society – those unserved so far, get assured potable tap water supply in their homes. Assured availability of drinking water in homes will save the women and young girls of centuries old drudgery faced by them across rural India. It will improve their health, education and socio- economic conditions. Further, tap water connection in every rural home, brings dignity to the people as it bridges the urban–rural gap and brings ‘ease of living’ in accessing safe water.
To achieve this mammoth goal of providing tap water supply to every rural household in a period of five years, Rs 3.60 lakh crore have been allocated by the government. In 2020-21 an amount of Rs 11,000 crore was allocated for the states and UTs. For 2021-22, i.e. current financial year a four-fold increase in fund allocation has been approved by the Union Ministry of Jal Shakti so that there is no dearth of fund requirement to achieve the goal. In three months, Rs 8,891 crore has been drawn by the states and UTs based on the fund utilisation and requirement proposed under their Annual Action Plans (AAPs).
In 2021-22, Rs 26,940 crore has been allocated to states as 15th Finance Commission tied grant for water and sanitation to Rural Local Bodies (Punchayati Raj Institutions – PRIs). There is an assured funding of Rs 142,084 crore for the next five years i.e. up to 2025-26. This investment in rural areas across the country, will accelerate economic activities and boost rural economy. It will create new employment opportunities in the villages.
Jal Jeevan Mission is a ‘bottom up’ approach, where community plays a vital role starting from planning to implementation, management, operation and maintenance. To achieve this, state government has to undertake support activities like strengthening the ‘village water & sanitation committees’ (VWSC)/ Pani Samiti, developing of ‘village action plan’ for next five years, engaging implementing state agencies (ISAs) to handhold and support village communities, and carry out awareness among people. So far 2.67 lakh VWSCs or Pani Samitis have been constituted and 1.84 lakh village action plans have been developed across India.
Under Jal Jeevan Mission, water-scarce areas, quality-affected villages, aspirational districts, SC/ST majority villages and Saansad Adarsh Gram Yojana (SAGY) villages are prioritised for providing tap water supply. During last 23 months, tap water supply has increased four-fold from 7 percent to 33 percent in 117 aspirational districts. Similarly, more than 97 lakh households have been provided with tap water supply in 61 districts affected by Japanese Encephalitis- Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (JE-IES). 696 SAGY villages and 29,063 SC/ST majority villages have become ‘Har Ghar Jal.’
According to Ministry of Jal Shakti, the states and UTs like Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, Goa, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Andaman & Nicobar Islands have made provision of tap water in all schools, ashramshalas and anganwadi centres. So far, 676,789 schools (65.7 percent) and 674,611 (59.8 percent) anganwadi centre across the country have been provided with potable tap water supply in adequate quantity for drinking and cooking mid-day meals, handwashing and use in toilets. Central government has asked the states and UTs to ensure that in few months, provision of safe tap water is made in all remaining schools, ashramshalas and anganwadi centres for better health, improved sanitation and hygiene for children.
Water quality monitoring and surveillance activities are being given top priority, for which anganwadi workers, ASHA workers, members of self-help groups (SHGs), PRI members and school teachers are being trained so that they can test water samples for contamination by using field test kits (FTKs). There are 2,015 laboratories across the country. Out of them, 195 water laboratories have been accredited by National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibration Laboratories (NABL) with improved infrastructure and trained technicians. State are upgrading water testing laboratories and securing NABL accreditation. These labs are open to public so that they can get their water samples tested at nominal cost.
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