New Delhi: Union Minister of Jal Shakti, Shri Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, in an official communiqué to the Chief Minister of Telangana, raised his concerns on the status of Functional Household Tap Connections (FHTC) to be provided in the rural areas of the State. Referring to his earlier meeting with the CM, the central minister stated that complete updation of the tap connection data in Integrated Management Information System (IMIS) of the Ministry has not happened so far even after the instructions of the Chief Minister to do so.
Jal Jeevan Mission, a flagship programme of the Government of India, is under implementation since 2019-20 with the objective to provide 55 litres of potable water per person per day to every rural household of the country on regular and long-term basis. JJM aims to improve the lives of rural people especially women and girls by reducing their drudgery. States are implementing this transformational mission so that the time-bound objective of providing household tap connection in rural areas could be accomplished by 2024.
The minister, in his letter, stressed on the importance of updated data in IMIS as national level database is accessed by various stakeholders including UN agencies, NITI Aayog, World Bank, Asian Development Bank, think tanks, media, etc and is also used for reply as well as statement in the Parliament. UN agencies also use this data to monitor the progress of a State/ country in terms of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). However, the State so far has remained non-responsive to numerous requests made by Ministry of Jal Shakti for real time data updation of tap connections provided in rural areas. So far, only partial updation has been done by the State in JJM-IMIS. In the absence of this, the status of household tap connections in Telangana is not known.
Further, the Minister in his letter highlighted that during the meeting it was informed that the State is reaching 100% FHTC status, but the data reports of only 35.86 lakh households have been provided with tap connections out of 54.37 lakh total rural households in the State. This gap is worrisome and creates huge confusion.
Emphasizing the role of local community, Minister urged the CM to involve local village community/ Gram Panchayats and or its sub-committee like Village Water & Sanitation Committee or user groups in planning, implementation, management, operation and maintenance of water supply systems in villages to ensure long-term sustainability of water supply schemes to achieve drinking water security.
The Central minister stated that in 2019-20 Telangana was allocated ₹ 259.14 Crore and only ₹ 105.52 Crore could be released by Government of India as State was unable to avail second instalment due to non-reporting of physical progress and non-submission of proper expenditure plan. The Minister also stated about the vision of the Union Government to provide all assistance to the state as potable water is the national priority. In this endeavour, Central Government has increased the fund allocation to Telangana from ₹ 259.14 Crore to ₹ 412.19 Crore for the year 2020-21. Thus, with an opening balance of ₹ 30.89 Crore along with this year’s allocation, Telangana has assured availability of ₹ 443.29 Crore under JJM as Central funds. It has also been mentioned that if the State intends to take up water supply schemes under JJM utilizing Central fund, an Annual Action Plan is to be prepared by the State, which will be approved by the National Committee headed by Secretary, DDWS. The State has not presented Annual Action Plan (2020-21) so far.
Shri Shekhawat in his letter said that he is hopeful that the State will provide 100% tap connections to all rural households in the year 2020-21 itself and become the first State to achieve the feat. And the state will become ‘Har Ghar Jal Rajya’ this year itself. Assuring the Telangana CM of full support of Union Government, he intends to discuss various issues pertaining to implementation of Jal Jeevan Mission in the State through video conferencing soon.