Despite the Covid-19 pandemic and lockdown disruptions, Jal Jeevan Mission achieved a milestone and provided 4.49 crore tap water connections during 23 months. The Mission also provided tap water supply to every household in 1 lakh villages across India in just 23 months and also made 50 thousand gram panchayats ‘Har Ghar Jal’ by providing tap water supply to every household in these panchayats. At the launch of this ambitious programme on August 15, 2019, out of 18.94 crore rural households in the country, only 3.23 crore (17 per cent) had tap water connections.
To date, tap water supply has reached 7.72 Crore (40.77 per cent) households. Goa, Telangana, Andaman & Nicobar Islands and Puducherry have achieved 100 per cent tap water supply in rural areas and has become ‘Har Ghar Jal’. The motto of the Mission is that ‘no one is left out and every household in a village should be provided with a tap water connection. At present, 71 districts, 824 blocks, 50,309 Gram Panchayats and 1,00,275 villages have achieved the target of ‘Har Ghar Jal’.
In a paradigm shift from the earlier water supply programmes, Jal Jeevan Mission focuses on water service delivery rather than providing mere water supply infrastructure. 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.
To achieve this mammoth goal of providing tap water supply to every rural household in a short period of five years, Rs 3.60 lakh crore has been allocated by the government. In 2020-21 an amount of Rs 11,000 crore was allocated for the States/ UTs. In just three months, Rs 8,891 crore has been drawn by the States/UTs based on the fund utilization 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 & sanitation to Rural Local Bodies/ PRIs. There is assured funding of Rs 1,42,084 Crore for the next five years i.e. up to 2025-26. This huge investment in rural areas across the country, will accelerate economic activities and boost the rural economy. It will create new employment opportunities in villages.
Jal Jeevan Mission is a ‘bottom up approach, where the community plays a vital role starting from planning to implementation, management, operation & maintenance. To achieve this, the state government has to undertake support activities like strengthening the Village Water & Sanitation Committee (VWSC)/ Pani Samiti, developing the village action plan for the next five years, engaging Implementing State Agencies (ISAs) to handhold & 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 Yojna (SAGY) villages are prioritized for providing tap water supply. During the last 23 months, the tap water supply has increased four-fold from 7% to 33% 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.’
To ensure safe tap water to children in schools, ashram shalas and Anganwadi centres, a 100-day campaign was launched on October 2, 2020. Following which so far, 6,76,789 schools (65.7 per cent) and 6,74,611 (59.8 per cent) Anganwadi centres 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. The central government has asked the states/ UTs to ensure that in few months, provision of safe tap water is made in all remaining schools, ashram shalas and Anganwadi centres for better health, improved sanitation and hygiene for children.