New Delhi : Union Government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi accords top priority to make provision of tap water connection in every rural household across the country. With a focus to expedite the implementation of Jal Jeevan Mission in Punjab, the Government of India released 402.24 Crore to the State. Central fund of ₹1,656.39 Crore has been allocated to the State for 2021-22 for the implementation of Jal Jeevan Mission, which is nearly four times the allocation for 2020-21.
There are 34.41 lakh rural households in the State, out of which 31.55 lakh rural households (91.68%) have tap water connection. In 2021-22, the State plans to provide tap water connections to 8.69 lakh rural households.
Top priority is accorded by the Union Government to the Jal Jeevan Mission as evidenced by the massive increase in budgetary allocation to Rs. 92,309 Crore in 2021-22, from Rs. 23,022 Crore in the preceding year.
Further in 2021-22, Rs. 616 Crore is allocated to Punjab as 15th Finance Commission grant for water & sanitation to Rural Local Bodies/ PRIs and there is an assured funding of Rs 3,246 Crore for the next five years i.e. up to 2025-26 to the rural local bodies.
Jal Jeevan Mission is implemented in a decentralized manner following the ‘bottom-up’ approach, wherein the local village community plays a key role starting from planning to implementation and from management to operation & maintenance. For this, the State undertakes several activities like strengthening the Village Water and Sanitation Committee (VWSC) and developing Village Action Plan as well as approving the same in the Gram Sabha, wherein the community deliberates on water supply schemes to be implemented for them. The programme encourages participation of women in these discussions as they are the primary water managers in any household. Implementing Support Agencies (ISAs) are engaged by the department to create awareness in public about the mission, sensitize them about importance of safe water, engage with the community and extend support to the Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs) for implementation of the programme.
In 2021-22, State has planned to build the capacity of over 60 thousand stakeholders which includes government officials, ISAs, public health engineers, village water and sanitation committee, surveillance committee and Panchayat members. Additionally, more than 8 thousand people in the State will be trained under skill training programme. Skilling of local people will be ensured to work as mason, plumber, fitter, electrician and pump operator. Such initiative of providing employment in the villages under skilled and semi-skilled sections will provide income generating opportunities in villages.
With focus on public health, more than 2,000 water quality testing laboratories in the country have been opened to general public so that they can get their water samples tested whenever they so desire at a nominal cost. Punjab has 33 water testing laboratories.
Efforts are made to ensure tap water availability for drinking, cooking mid-day meal, washing hands and usage in toilets in all schools and anganwadicentres. As on date, 22,389 schools (100%) and 22,120 (100%) anganwadicentres in Punjab have been provided with tap water supply.
Announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 15th August, 2019, with the aim to provide assured tap water supply to every rural home by 2024, Jal Jeevan Mission is being implemented in partnership with States. Despite challenges faced due to COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdowns, over 5.38 Crore (28%) households have been provided with tap water supply since the launch of the mission. As on date, 8.62 Crore (45%) rural households receive potable water through household taps. Goa, Telangana, Andaman & Nicobar Islands, Dadra & Nagar Haveli and Daman & Diu, Puducherry and Haryana have become ‘Har Ghar Jal’ State/ UT i.e. 100% coverage of tap connections in rural households. Punjab aims to become ‘Har Ghar Jal’ State in 2022.