New Delhi: To translate the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi’s vision of ensuring clean tap water to every household by 2024, Union government has increased the Central grant to Kerala under the Jal Jeevan Mission in the year 2021-22 to Rs 1,804.59 Crore, which was Rs 404.24 Crore in 2020-21. Union Minister, Jal Shakti, Shri Gajendra Singh Shekhawat while approving this more than four-fold increase in allocation has assured full assistance to the State for making provision of tap water supply in every rural home by 2023.
In Kerala, on 15th August 2019, at the time of launch of Jal Jeevan Mission, out 67.14 lakh households, only 16.64 lakh (24.78%) households had tap water supply. In the last 22 months, 6.36 lakh households in the State have been provided tap water connections. Thus, now 23.00 lakh households (34.26%) in the State have provision of tap water supply. However, the increase in tap water supply coverage in the State has been less than 10% against the national average of 22%.
Presently, in Kerala there are still 44.14 lakh households without provision of tapwater supply. As decided in the meeting between Chief Minister, Kerala and Union Jal Shakti Minister Shri Shekhawat, all households are to be provided tap water connections by 2023. Under Jal Jeevan Mission, the State Government has planned to provide tap water connections to 29.37 lakh households in 2021-22, 6.68 lakh in 2022-23 and 5.54 lakhin 2023-24 to achieve the goal of every household with assured tap water supply. The Ministry of Jal Shakti has expressed its deep concern about very slow pace of implementation as only 4.04 lakh households were provided tap water connections in 2020-21.
Union Minister, Jal Shakti, Shri Gajendra Singh Shekhawat has written a letter to the Chief Minister of Kerala, urging him to review the Jal Jeevan Mission in the State every month to expedite the planning, approval of schemes, tendering process and implementation of the water supply schemes.
In 2020-21, Rs 404.24 Crore Central grant was released to Kerala but the State could draw only Rs 303.14 Crore, and surrendered Rs. 101.06 Crore meant for tap water supply in rural areas of the State. This year with Central allocation of Rs 1,804.59 crore, unspent balance of Rs 40.07 Crore and short fall and matching State’s share of Rs 1,844.66 Crore, Kerala has an assured availability of Rs. 3,689.32 Crore under Jal Jeevan Mission for water supply work in 2021-22. In his letter to the Chief Minister, Kerala, the Union Minister has hoped that this enhanced allocation will enable the State to expedite the implementation to achieve various planned activities under Jal Jeevan Mission to provide tap water connection to every household in rural areas.
In 2021-22, Rs. 722 Crore has been allocated to Kerala as 15th FC tied grant for water & sanitation to Rural Local Bodies/ PRIs. There is an assured funding of Rs 3,806 Crore for the next five years i.e. up to 2025-26. This huge investment in rural areas of Kerala, 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 schools, ashramshalas and Anganwadi centres. In Kerala 10,772 schools (99%) and 26,307 Anganwadi centres (79%) have access to piped water supply. Central Government has asked the State to ensure that in next few months, provision of safe tap water is made in all remaining schools, ashramshalas and Anganwadi centres for better health, improved sanitation and hygiene of children.
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 water-scarce areas, quality-affected villages, Aspirational districts, SC/ST majority villages and SaansadAdarsh Gram Yojna (SAGY) villages.
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 52 water testing laboratories in the State, only 1 lab is NABL accredited. The State needs to expedite the upgradation of these water testing laboratories and secure their NABL accreditation. These labs should be open to public so that they can get their water samples tested at a nominal cost.
Under Jal Jeevan Mission, ‘bottom up’ approach is followed, wherein community plays a pivotal 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)/ PaniSamiti, 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. State needs to prepare Village Action Plans for its 941 villages. In the year 2021-22, the State has planned to engage 29 NGOs as Implementing State Agencies (ISAs). 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.
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 4.29 Crore households have been provided with piped connections. With the increase in coverage by 22%, presently 7.52 Crore (39.22%) 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 ‘HarGhar Jal’. Following the principle of Prime Minister’s vision of ‘SabkaSaath, SabkaVikas, SabkaVishwas’, 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 92 thousand villages, every household has tap water supply
Jal Jeevan Mission announced by the Prime Minister on 15th August 2019 from Red Fort 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.