Mission of Drinking Water to all for a Healthy India
Thanks to the “Jal Jeevan Mission”, more than 26 million families have been provided with piped safe and healthy drinking water connections in the past one and a half years.
This was revealed by none other than Prime Minister Narendra Modi recently, while laying the foundation stone for rural drinking water supply projects in the two districts of Uttar Pradesh (UP). The projects are expected to be completed in the next two years.
The projects — estimated to cost over Rs 5,555 crore — will provide household tapwater connections to all the 2,995 villages in the two districts of Mirzapur and Sonbhadra, benefiting 4.2 million people.
“The Jal Jeevan Mission has made the lives of our mothers and sisters easier. It has also helped in improving the health of several poor families by eradicating encephalitis and typhoid,” said Modi.
He said piped drinking water reaching thousands of villages will also improve the physical and mental health of children. Despite UP’s abundant resources, several rivers in the Vindhyachal and Bundelkhand regions are still dry. This has forced many to migrate, he rued.
UP is among the five states with the least number of functional household tap-water connections, with 6 per cent coverage so far in rural areas. The Jal Jeevan Mission is expected to address the issues of water scarcity and irrigation in the two districts of UP and also push development.
“A self-reliant India derives its strength from its self-reliant villages…when one gets the freedom to take decisions and work on those decisions for the development of the village, it increases the confidence of its residents,” said Modi.
It is said that the Modi-government has so far provided over 58-million tapwater connections, covering 30 per cent of rural households. Its work in this regard is continuing, despite the bottlenecks due to the outbreak of Corona.
So far, Goa is the only state with 100 per cent tapwater coverage. Bihar, Puducherry, and Telangana are expected to have full coverage by the end of 2021.
It may be noted that “the Jal Jeevan Mission programme was announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 73rd Independence Day i.e. 15 August, 2019.
Main Features of the Jal Jeevan Mission
- The goal of Jal Jeevan Mission is to ensure that every household has assured drinking water supply in adequate quantity of prescribed quality on long-term basis at affordable service delivery charges, leading to improvement in living standard of rural community, particularly women & children.
- It aims at universal coverage i.e. every family in every habitation/ village in the country is to get tap water connection and ‘no one is left behind’.
- The provision of household tap connection in rural areas will help in removing ‘drudgery’ of women, especially women and girls as fetching water is their responsibility. It will also improve the ‘ease of living’ for people living in rural areas.
- It intends to ensure functionality of taps on long-term basis, decentralized operation & management & water testing facilities for general public.
- The cost of the Jal Jeevan Mission is estimated to be Rs 3.6 trillion, of which the central share constitutes Rs 2.08 trillion.
- It is implemented in partnership with States, which not only aims to provide functional household tap connection (FHTC) to all rural homes of the country by 2024 but at the same time focuses on service delivery, so that rural households get uninterrupted water supply in their homes.
- The programme also focuses on sustainability of drinking water sources through water conservation measures, grey water treatment and reuse as well as operation & maintenance.
The Jal Jeevan Mission gives highest priority to water quality
For this, the States/UTs are urged to speed up the accreditation of the water testing laboratories.
Currently, there are 2,233 government-owned water quality testing labs in States/ UTs. In most States/ UTs, these labs only test water samples that are not open to general public. In some States/ UTs, these labs are open to public but charges for testing are so high that it is not possible for any common family to take water sample and get it tested.
The Jal Jeevan Mission encourages these labs to be opened to public for testing of their water samples on nominal charge as well as GP/ VWSC/ Paani Samiti are trained to test water using kits, and data is uploaded concurrently so that it will help in ensuring portability of water. Thus, by integrating these laboratories and making them open to general public will help in ascertaining portability of water supplied through taps. It will help in improving the public health in general and women and children in particular.
Incidentally, a ‘100-day’ campaign was launched on 2nd October, 2020 to make provision for assured piped water supply in schools, “anganwadi” centres and “ashramshalas” (residential schools in tribal areas), which will help in ensuring clean water to our children for their better health and holistic development.
In this connection, Union Minister of Jal Shakti Gajendra Sing Shekhawat has appealed to all the Chief Ministers of States in-charge of rural water supply, urging them for their active involvement and support to make the best use of the campaign to ensure safe water in these public institutions.