Jal Jeevan Mission: One lakh tap connections provided daily

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Jal Jeevan Mission was launched in August 2019 and in 7 months of 2019-20, around 84.83 lakh rural households were provided with tap connections. Further, amidst CoVID-19 pandemic, since Unlock-1, about 45 lakh tap connections have been provided so far in the year 2020-21. Thus, daily about 1 lakh households are being provided with tap connections, which indicates the ‘Speed’. For ensuring transparency, every asset created is being geo-tagged and connections are being linked with the ‘Aadhar’ of the ‘head of the household’.

A dashboard indicating the progress of the Mission, up to the district level, has been created and is available at Ministry’s website.

After the mission came into being, States were requested to undertake a revalidation exercise of baseline data, as per which there are 19.04 Crore rural households in the country, out of which 3.23 Crore households are already provided tap connections. Remaining 15.81 Crore households are to be provided with tap connections. Thus, the objective is to cover approx. 16 Crore households in a time-bound manner while ensuring the functionality of already provided connections. This means 3.2 Crore households to be covered every year i.e. approx. 88,000 tap connections to be provided on daily basis. With this goal in mind, States/ UTs are working hard to provide tap connection to every rural household. In this endeavour, States like Bihar, Telangana, Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh lead with excellent performance.

In 2020-21, a sum of Rs. 23,500 Crore has been allocated for the implementation of JJM. At present, more than Rs. 8,000 Crore of Central fund is available with the States/ UTs for the implementation of the Mission. Besides this, in 2020-21, 50% of 15th Finance Commission grants to Rural Local Bodies, i.e. Rs. 30,375 Crore have also been earmarked for water supply and sanitation. 50% of this amount has been released to States on 15 July, 2020. This will help in better planning, implementation, management, operation and maintenance of drinking water supply systems in villages so as people continue to get potable water on regular and long-term basis.

The mission is exploring partnerships with reputed national and international agencies including UN agencies, NGOs/ CBOs, CSR organizations, trusts, foundations, etc. The Government hopes that water will turn into the next people’s movement and will become everyone’s business, a transformational change for the sector which has hitherto been seen as only a public sector responsibility. To make water everyone’s business, mission strives to build partnerships and work together with various institutions/ individuals to achieve drinking water security for all.

The Ministry of Jal Shakti has been implementing Jal Jeevan Mission (JJM) in partnership with the States with an aim to provide potable water in adequate quantity of prescribed quality on regular and long-term basis through tap connections to every rural household in the country by 2024. The mission was announced by the Prime Minister on 15th August, 2019, for which the operational guidelines were released on 25th December, 2019.

All out efforts are being made by the National Mission under Ministry of Jal Shakti to handhold the States/ UTs for its implementation. Intensive village-wise analysis was taken up during March-May, 2020, based on which the action plans of the States were firmed up. Union Minister, Jal Shakti is also holding regular meetings with Chief Ministers/ Lieutenant Governors of States and UTs for expeditious implementation of the mission. States have planned 100% Functional Household Tap Connection (FHTC) coverage in villages, blocks and districts and ultimately saturating the States to become ‘Har Ghar Jal Rajya’.

Various States/ UTs have committed to achieve the goal of the Mission well before 2024. In 2021, Bihar, Goa, Puducherry and Telangana have planned for complete saturation; similarly in 2022, States/ UTs of Gujarat, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir, Ladakh, Meghalaya, Punjab, Sikkim and Uttar Pradesh. While Arunachal Pradesh, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Manipur, Mizoram, Nagaland, Tripura, Chhattisgarh have planned for 100% coverage in 2023, States like Assam, Andhra Pradesh, Jharkhand, Kerala, Maharashtra, Odisha, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Uttarakhand and West Bengal have planned for 2024.

The objective of the Mission is universal coverage and emphasis is on the principle of ‘equity and inclusiveness’ i.e. every family in the village gets tap water connection in their household and ‘none is left behind’. Accordingly, States are giving priority to SC/ ST majority populated villages, aspirational districts, villages in drought prone and desert areas and quality-affected habitations.

Special focus is given to the districts affected with Japanese Encephalitis/ Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (JE-AES) which is one of the reasons behind infant mortality in the affected districts.  As on date, 3.01 Crore households are there in 61 JE/ AES endemic districts of 5 States of Assam, Bihar, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal. Out of this, 27.32 lakh (9%) households have FHTCs and remaining 2.74 crore households (91%) are to be provided with FHTCs under JJM.

Potable water supply to water quality-affected habitations is a top priority under JJM as the ill effects of Flurosis and Arsenicosis is to be reduced. In the light of interim order of National Green Tribunal, States have to ensure piped water supply to all households in Arsenic and Fluoride affected habitations before December, 2020.

Being a decentralized programme, Village Water & Sanitation Committees (VWSCs)/ Paani Samiti as sub-committee of Gram Panchayat, with minimum 50% women members, are being formed at village level which is responsible for preparing the Village Action Plans (VAPs) considering the water-sources development, supply, grey-water management and operation and maintenance. JJM also aims at the capacity building of members of Gram Panchayat and/ or its sub-committee, so as to generate ‘responsive’ and ‘responsible’ leadership at village who can manage, plan, operate and maintain in-village water supply infrastructure and many States have already started imparting online training to Paani Samiti members.

Under JJM, emphasis is given on convergence planning at the lowest level i.e. village/ Gram Panchayat, for source strengthening, water harvesting, aquifer recharge, water treatment and grey-water management, etc., for which dovetailing of resources takes place from MGNREGS, 15th Finance Commission Grants for PRIs, SBM (G), District Mineral Development Fund, CSR funds, Local Area Development funds, etc.

‘Skilling’ of villagers on masonary, plumbing, electrical-aspects, motor-repairing, etc. are also given impetus under JJM. Looking at this potential to engage skilled, semi-skilled and un-skilled labourers, JJM is also a part of Garib Kalyan Rozgar Yojana (GKRA) wherein efforts are being made to provide employment to migrant labourers by creating public infrastructure. The tentative plan is to take up work in about 25,000 villages spread across 6 States under implementation.

Monitoring quality of water supplied through drinking water testing laboratories is an important aspect and lot of emphasis is given on strengthening these labs and getting them accredited by NABL. States are to open water quality laboratory facilities to general public, so that village women can come and test the quality of water supplied to their household.

Communities are being enabled to take up surveillance for quality of water-supplied, for which in villages by training five villagers, preferably women, is encouraged so that water supplied in villages could be tested locally. The idea is to make it a reliable and trustworthy arrangement of potable supply.

Every source needs to be tested once for chemical parameters and twice for bacteriological contamination (pre and post monsoon) in a year as a part of water quality monitoring.

In line with the clarion call of the Prime Minister to ensure ‘ease of living’ in rural areas by providing facilities like financial inclusion, houses, road, clean fuel, electricity, toilets, the Jal Jeevan Mission is providing drinking water in every rural household, which will go a long way in improving the lives of rural population. The Mission will also reduce the drudgery of women and girls on whom the primary responsibility of fetching water is vested with.

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