If the Jal Jeevan Mission is to be believed, in a short span of two and half years and despite COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown disruptions, it has provided tap water supply to more than 5.77 Crore rural households across India. 

As a result, today 9 Crore rural households in the country are enjoying the benefits of a clean tap water supply. 

Jal Jeevan Mission was formed after Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi was re-elected in 2019 and promised to provide clean tap water to every home in the country by 2024.

At the announcement of the Mission on 15th August 2019, out of 19.27 Crore households, only 3.23 Crore (17%) households in India had tap water connections. 

Soon, the work started and in this short period, 98 districts, 1,129 blocks, 66,067 Gram Panchayats and 1,36,135 villages have become ‘Har Ghar Jal’. In Goa, Haryana, Telangana, Andaman & Nicobar Islands, Puducherry, Dadar & Nagar Haveli and Daman & Diu, every rural household has tap water supply. Many more States like Punjab (99%), Himachal Pradesh (92.4%), Gujarat (92%) and Bihar (90%) are on the verge of becoming ‘Har Ghar Jal’ in 2022. 

To achieve the mammoth task of providing tap water supply to every rural household in a span of five years, Rs 3.60 lakh Crore has been allocated. Rs. 60,000 Crore has been allocated to ‘Har Ghar Jal’ in Union Budget 2022-23 to provide tap water to 3.8 Crore households. 

In addition to the above, 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 is accelerating economic activities and boosting rural economy, as well as creating employment opportunities in villages. 

In a paradigm shift from earlier water supply programmes, Jal Jeevan Mission focuses on water service delivery and not just building water supply infrastructure. The motto of the Jal Jeevan Mission is ‘no one is left out’, thus ensuring every household irrespective of its socio-economic status, gets tap water supply. Jal Jeevan Mission strives for the freedom of mothers and sisters from centuries old drudgery of fetching water for household, and improving their health, education and socio- economic condition. The Mission is bringing ‘ease of living and adding pride and dignity to rural families. 

Under the Jal Jeevan Mission, quality-affected villages, Aspirational districts, SC/ST majority villages, water-scarce areas and Saansad Adarsh Gram Yojna (SAGY) villages are prioritized for providing tap water supply. In last 24 months, tap water supply has increased four-fold from 24 lakh (9.3%) to about 1.36 Crore (40%) households in 117 Aspirational districts. 

Similarly, more than 1.15 Crore households (38%) have been provided with tap water supply in 61 districts affected by Japanese Encephalitis-Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (JE-IES). Prior to the announcement of JJM, only 8 lakh homes (2.64%) in JE-AES affected districts had tap water supply. In case, the building of surface water-based systems takes time in quality affected areas, as an interim measure, community water purification plants have been installed to provide safe water @ of 8-10 lpcd to every household. 

To ensure the health and well-being of children by providing clean tap water in schools and Anganwadi centres in the country, Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi announced a 100-days campaign, which was launched by the Union Minister Jal Shakti, Shri Gajendra Singh Shekhawat on 2nd October 2020. So far, in a short span of 16 months, 8.46 lakh schools (82%) and 8.67 lakh (78%) Anganwadi centre across the country have been provided with potable tap water supply for drinking & cooking mid-day meals, handwashing and use in toilets. 93 thousand rainwater harvesting facilities and 1.08 lakh greywater reuse structures have been developed in schools across the country. Andaman & Nicobar Island, Andhra Pradesh, D&NH and D&D, Goa, Gujarat, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir, Karnataka, Kerala, Puducherry, Sikkim, Tamil Nadu, Telangana and Uttarakhand have made provision of tap water in every school. 

Central Government has asked the States to ensure the provision of clean tap water supply in the remaining schools and Anganwadi centres at the earliest to ensure better health, improved sanitation and hygiene for children. 

Jal Jeevan Mission is a ‘bottom up’ approach where the community plays a vital role from planning to implementation, management, operation and maintenance. To achieve this, Village Water & Sanitation Committee (VWSC)/ Pani Samiti are being constituted and strengthened; Village Action Plan are developed through community engagement; the Implementation Support Agencies (ISAs) are engaged to support the village communities in programme implementation and create awareness among people. So far over 4.69 lakh VWSCs (Pani Samitis) has been constituted and more than 3.81 lakh Village Action Plans have been developed across India. 

To build the capacity of the community to efficiently manage the water utility, Jal Jeevan Mission is conducting capacity building programmes with the help of Implementation Support Agencies (ISAs), 104 Key Resource Centres (KRCs), and sector partners working in the area of water across the country.

Water quality monitoring & surveillance activities are given top priority under the Jal Jeevan Mission. Five women in each village are being trained to test water samples of any kind of contamination by using Field test Kits (FTKs). FTKs are procured and handed over to Panchayats. The FTK helps to test water on nine parameters viz; pH, alkalinity, chloride, nitrate, total hardness, fluoride, iron, residual free chlorine and H2S. More than 9.13 lakh women have been trained so far to test water quality through FTKs.

There are 2,022 water testing laboratories in the country. Of these, 454 laboratories are NABL accredited. For the first time in the country, water testing laboratories are opened to public to get their water samples tested at nominal rates. Many States have provided mobile vans to enable collecting and testing water samples in faraway remote villages. 

Jal Jeevan Mission leverages the use of technology to ensure transparency, accountability, proper utilization of funds and service delivery. Every water supply asset created under Jal Jeevan Mission is geo-tagged. Hydro-geo morphological (HGM) maps are used in planning single village scheme to identify drinking water sources and construct aquifer recharge structure. Household tap connections provided by JJM are linked with Aadhar number of the head of the household and more importantly all financial transactions are undertaken through Public Finance Management System (PFMS).

To ensure transparency and accountability in the implementation of Jal Jeevan Mission, all information about Jal Jeevan Mission is in the public domain and the JJM dashboard can be accessed at https://ejalshakti.gov.in/jjmreport/JJMIndia.aspx

With the active participation of people especially women, and rural communities working together, Jal Jeevan Mission has become a Jan Andolan. For long-term drinking water security, local communities and Gram Panchayats are coming forward and taking responsibility to manage village water supply systems, their water resources and greywater.  

From the above data provided by Jal Jeevan Mission, it seems this programme is on track to fulfill the Government’s resolve to provide tap water supply to every rural household by 2024.

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