New Delhi: Union Minister of Jal Shakti, Shri Gajendra Singh Shekhawat is regularly monitoring Government’s flagship programme, Jal Jeevan Mission and remains in touch with States/ UTs for speedy implementation of this ambitious mission. In this endeavour, Minister, in his letter to Chief Minister of Maharashtra Shri Uddhav Thackeray, urged for faster execution of the mission in the State.
The Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi had announced Jal Jeevan Mission from the ramparts of Red Fort on 15th August 2019 with an aim to provide every rural household with functional household tap connections (FHTCs) by 2024. This life changing mission will improve the lives of rural people, especially girls by reducing their drudgery.
The Minister in his letter assured Union Government’s commitment to provide all assistance to the State Government in ensuring potable water service delivery in adequate quantity of prescribed quality on regular and long-term basis to all households as envisaged under the Jal Jeevan Mission (JJM). Under JJM, funds are provided by Government of India based on the output in terms of FHTCs provided and the utilization of available central and matching state share. In 2019-20, Maharashtra State provided tap connections to 5.45 lakh households as against the target of 16.26 lakh tap connections.
Government of India has approved ₹1,828.92 Crore for implementation of JJM in the State during 2020-21. With an unspent balance with the State amounting ₹ 285.35 Crore and along with this year central allocation & matching State share, ₹ 3,908 Crore will be available with the State in 2020-21 for implementation of JJM. Further, 15th Finance Commission has allocated tied grants of ₹5,827 Crore to the State be spent mandatorily on (a) supply of drinking water, rainwater harvesting and water recycling and (b) sanitation and maintenance of ODF status.
The central minister urged the CM to involve local village community/ Gram Panchayats and user groups in planning, implementation, management, operation and maintenance of water supply systems in villages to ensure long-term sustainability to achieve drinking water security. In all villages, IEC campaign along with community mobilization is to be taken up to make Jal Jeevan Mission truly a people’s movement.
The minister requested for retrofitting and augmentation of existing 8,268 piped water supply schemes, thereby making provision of 22.35 lakh household tap connections during this year. State has been advised to take up all these works in ‘campaign mode’, so that these villages can easily become ’Har Ghar Jal Gaon’ in next 4-6 months and the remaining households belonging to poor and marginalized sections of the society get tap connections immediately. The State has made plan to cover 100% of its quality-affected habitations by 31st December, 2020. While planning for universal coverage of households, priority is given to water scarce areas, quality-affected areas, SC/ ST dominated habitations/ villages, aspirational districts, Sansad Adarsh Gramin Yojana villages, particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups.
In Maharashtra some excellent work has been done for water conservation. Learning from these works, existing water resources, through convergence of various programmes like MGNREGS, JJM, SBM (G), 15th FC Grants to PRIs, District Mineral Development Fund, CAMPA, CSR Fund, Local Area Development Fund, etc. at village level should be planned and Village Action Plan (VAP) should be prepared for every village by dovetailing all these resources.
The letter of Union Minister is well-timed, considering the prevailing CoVid-19 pandemic situation. To combat the issues related to public health and rural economy, this flagship programme Jal Jeevan Mission will play an important role. Therefore, water supply work needs to be taken up in all villages to provide household tap connections, which will help the locals and migrants in getting employment and will boost the rural economy.
Minister of Jal Shakti assured the CM of Maharashtra of full cooperation to make the State a ‘100% FHTCs State’ by 2024 and intends to discuss the planning and implementation of JJM with the CM through video conferencing soon.