Despite Covid-19 pandemic, the Centre has provided over five crore tap water connections under its Jal Jeevan Mission during the past 24 months, claimed the Ministry of Jal Shakti.
The Ministry said the state governments and Union governments 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, the Ministry said.
The Jal Jeevan Mission was announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi two years ago on August 15 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,” said a senior officer of the Jal Shakti. As on date, about 8.26 Crore (43%) rural households have tap water supply in their homes, it said.
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. 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 a 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 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 teachers, 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 resources 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.