Central Government allocates Rs. 5,601 Crore Grant to Assam under Jal Jeevan Mission for providing tap water in every rural home

New Delhi: To translate Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi’s vision of providing clean tap water to every household, this year Central Government has allocated Rs. 5,601.16 Crore grant to Assam under the Jal Jeevan Mission, which was Rs. 1,608.51 Crore in 2020-21. National Jal Jeevan Mission, Ministry of Jal Shakti has also released Rs. 700 Crores to the State as first tranche. Union Minister, Jal Shakti, Shri Gajendra Singh Shekhawat while approving this four-fold increase in allocation has assured full assistance to the State for making provision of tap water supply in every rural home by 2024.

At the start of the Mission in 2019, out of a total of 19.20 Crore rural households in the country, only 3.23 Crore (17%) had tap water supply. During the last 22 months, despite Covid-19 pandemic and lockdown disruptions, Jal Jeevan Mission, has been implemented with speed and 4.32 Crore households have been provided with piped connections. With the increase in coverage by 22%, presently 7.56 Crore (39.38%) rural households across the country have tap water supply. Goa, Telangana, Andaman & Nicobar Islands and Puducherry have achieved 100% household connection in rural areas and has become ‘Har Ghar Jal’. Following the principle of Prime Minister’s vision of ‘Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas, Sabka Vishwas’, the motto of the Mission is that ‘no one is left out’ and every household in a village should be provided with tap water connection. At present, in 62 districts and more than 93 thousand villages, every household has tap water supply.

In Assam on 15th August 2019, at the time of launch of Jal Jeevan Mission, only 1.11 lakh (1.76%) households out of a total of 63.35 lakh households in 25,335 villages, had tap water supply. In the last 22 months, 6.88 lakh households (10.87%) in the State have been provided tap water connections, thus 7.99 lakh households (12.63%) are having tap water supply. The State has to provide tap water supply to remaining 55.35 lakh households in next three years. To achieve this task, the State has planned to provide tap water connections to 22.63 lakh households in 2021-22, 20.84 lakh households in 2022-23, and 13.20 lakh tap water connections in 2023-24.

Union Minister, Jal Shakti, Shri Gajendra Singh Shekhawat has written a letter to the Chief Minister of Assam, highlighting challenges and important aspects related to planning and implementation of Jal Jeevan Mission in Assam. In his letter, the Union Minister has hoped that the State government will make all out efforts to draw and utilize this enhanced allocation to achieve various planned activities under Jal Jeevan Mission to provide tap water connection to every household in rural areas.

The allocation of the Central grant to Assam under JJM has been enhanced to Rs. 5,601.16 Crore. With this fourfold increase in Central allocation, unspent balance of Rs 123.78 Crore and State’s matching share of Rs 636.10 Crore, Assam has an assured availability of Rs. 6,361.04 Crore under Jal Jeevan Mission for water supply work in 2021-22.

In 2021-22, Rs 712 Crore has been allocated to Assam as 15th Finance Commission tied grant to Rural Local Bodies/ PRIs for water & sanitation. There is an assured funding of Rs 3,752 Crore for the next five years i.e. up to 2025-26. This huge investment in rural areas of Assam, will create new employment opportunities, accelerate economic activities and also boost rural economy.

To ensure safe tap water to children in schools, ashramshalas and anganwadi centres in the country, Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi announced 100-days campaign, which was launched by the Union Minister Shri Gajendra Singh Shekhawat on 2nd October 2020. As a result, States/ UTs like Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, Goa, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Andaman & Nicobar Islands have made provision of tap water in all schools, ashramshalas and anganwadi centres. In Assam so far, only 11,076 schools (26%) and 2,257 anganwadi centres (6%) have been provided piped water supply. Central Government has asked the State Government to ensure that in few months, provision of safe tap water is made in all remaining schools, ashramshalas and anganwadi centres including provision of hand washing and piped water in toilets and urinals. This will help our children to have better health, improved sanitation and hygiene.

In his letter, Union Minister, Jal Shakti, Shri Gajendra Singh Shekhawat has reiterated the emphasis given by the Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi to provide tap water on priority in next few months to all households in quality-affected villages, Aspirational and JE/ AES affected districts, SC/ ST majority villages and Saansad Adarsh Gram Yojna (SAGY) villages. Centre has asked the State to give priority and provide tap water in these villages.

 

Chief Minister of Assam, Dr. Himanta Biswa Sarma has assured the Union Minister, Jal Shakti, Shri Gajendra Singh Shekhawat of speedy pace of implementation of Jal Jeevan Mission in Assam. The State has already approved schemes for 41.9 lakh tap water connections and work orders for about 17.85 lakh tap water connections have been issued in 2021-22. The Chief Minister has further assured that he will be closely monitoring the progress of the work to ensure tap water supply in rural households.

 

Water quality monitoring & surveillance activities are to be given top priority, for which anganwadi workers, ASHA workers, members of Self-Help Groups, PRI members, school teachers etc; are being trained so that they can test water samples for contamination by using Field test Kits (FTKs). Out of a total of 80 water testing laboratories, only 1 lab is NABL accredited. These labs to be opened to general public so that they can get their water samples tested at a nominal cost. State also needs to upgrade the water testing laboratories and ensuring their NABL accreditation on priority.

Jal Jeevan Mission is a ‘bottom up’ approach where community plays a vital role starting from planning to implementation, management, operation and maintenance. To achieve this, State Government has to undertake support activities like strengthening the Village Water & Sanitation Committee (VWSC)/ Pani Samiti, developing of Village Action Plan for the next five years, engaging Implementing State Agencies (ISAs) to handhold and support village communities, carry out awareness among people. So far Assam has 4,732 VWSCs or Pani Samitis and 13,233 Village Action Plan (VAPs) have been prepared. In the year 2021-22, the State has engaged 30 NGOs as Implementing State Agencies (ISAs). Assam needs to build the capacity of more than 1.5 lakh people in rural areas. Such handholding and capacity building plays a critical role in ensuring long-term sustainability and operation & maintenance of the water supply infrastructure for assured water supply to every home.

Announced by the Prime Minister on 15th August 2019, Jal Jeevan Mission is under implementation in partnership with States/ UTs to provide tap water connection to every rural household of the country by 2024. Total budget for Jal Jeevan Mission in 2021-22 is Rs. 50,011 Crore. With State’s own resources and Rs. 26,940 Crore as 15th Finance Commission tied grant for water and sanitation to RLBs/ PRIs, this year, more than Rs 1 lakh Crore are being invested in rural drinking water supply sector. This is creating new employment opportunities in villages and boosting the rural economy.