Sunday, October 17, 2021

5 crore tap connections provided under Jal Jeevan Mission: Govt

Since the announcement of Jal Jeevan Mission in August, 2019, in just about 25 months, over 5 Crore families have been provided with tap water connection in their homes. Despite Covid-19 pandemic, its subsequent lockdowns and challenges, States/ UTs worked relentlessly to ensure assured tap water supply to rural homes.

Assured tap water supply in homes relieves people, especially women and young girls, from fetching water, carrying heavy loads at a distance, etc. thus, reducing their age-old drudgery. The newfound time is being used for income generation activities, learning new skills, supporting children’s education, etc.

Jal Jeevan Mission was announced by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi on 15th August, 2019 to provide Functional Household Tap Connection (FHTC) to every home by 2024. In 2019, out of about 18.93 Crore households in rural areas, only 3.23 Crore (17%) had tap water connections. Thus, 15.70 Crore households are to be provided with tap water by 2024.

In addition, functionality of all existing water supply systems and tap connections is also to be ensured. The programme directly benefits more than 19 Crore rural families, bridging rural – urban divide and improving public health. As on date, about 8.26 Crore (43%) rural households have tap water supply in their homes.

The motto of Jal Jeevan Mission is that ‘no one is left out.’ Every rural household in 78 districts, and 1.16 lakh villages is getting tap water supply. With focus on health and well-being of children, last year on Gandhi Jayanti, a campaign was launched to provide tap water connections to all schools, anganwadi centres and ashramshalas (tribal residential schools) for drinking, cooking mid-day meal, hand washing and use in toilets. As on date, tap water supply has been provided in 7.72 lakh (76%) schools and 7.48 lakh (67.5%) anganwadi centres.

Following a bottom-up approach, JJM is being implemented as a decentralized, demand-driven and community-managed programme with Gram Panchayats and/ or its sub-committees, i.e. Village Water & Sanitation Committees (VWSC)/ Pani Samitis playing a key role in planning, implementation, management, operation and maintenance of in-village water supply systems, thereby providing clean tap water to every household on regular and long-term basis.

The Pani Samitis/ VWSCs function as a legal entity as envisaged in the 73rd Amendment to the Constitution. It consists of 10-15 members with at least 50% women members and proportionate representation from weaker sections.

VWSC prepared a one-time Village Action Plan (VAP), co-terminus with 15th Finance Commission period by dovetailing different resources at village level, which is to be approved in a Gram Sabha. VAP comprises of 4 key components of drinking water source augmentation, drinking water supply system, grey water treatment and its reuse, and regular operation and maintenance of in-village water supply system.

Further, a cadre of 30-40 members in every village are being trained and skilled to build their capacities to manage their in-village water supply systems. 5 women from every village, viz. ASHA, Anganwadi teacher, SHG leaders, etc. are being trained to test water quality using Field Test Kits (FTKs). 5-10 members are trained as plumbers, masons, motor mechanics, fitters, etc. so that skilled resource are available in every village to address any requirement, and also increasing employment opportunities. GP/ VWSC members are being trained to act as service providers, function as local public water utilities. A silent revolution is taking place in the villages.

Honouring Mahatma Gandhi’s vision of ‘Gram Swaraj’, this Gandhi Jayanti, i.e. 2nd October, 2021, a special Gram Sabha is being convened across the length and breadth of the country to discuss and deliberate on issues related to drinking water in their villages in a move to attain ‘WASH Prabudh Gaon’.

On this occasion, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will do Samvad, i.e address about 3.3 lakh Village Water & Sanitation Committees/ Pani Samitis from 10 AM to 12 PM. This interaction with the Prime Minister will boost the energy of the community and local leaders who worked throughout the pandemic and during lockdown ensuring tap water reached every household.

As part of ‘Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav’ and to help in developing a responsive and responsible leadership to make village a WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) enlightened village, this Samvad intends to go a long way to bring vision of Gram Swaraj into a reality.

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