New Delhi: To translate Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi’s vision of providing clean tap water to every household, Union Government has increased the Central grant to Chhattisgarh under the Jal Jeevan Mission in the year 2021-22 to Rs. 1,908.96 Crore, which was Rs. 445.52 Crore in 2020-21. National Jal Jeevan Mission, Ministry of Jal Shakti has also released Rs. 453.71 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 2023.
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 21 months, despite Covid-19 pandemic and lockdown disruptions, Jal Jeevan Mission, has been implemented with speed and 4.25 Crore households have been provided with piped connections. With the increase in coverage by 22%, presently 7.50 Crore (39%) 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 ‘SabkaSaath, 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 92 thousand villages, every household has tap water supply.
In Chhattisgarh, out of a total of 45.48 lakh households in 19,684 villages, 5.69 lakh households (12.52%) have been provided with tap water connections. On 15th August 2019, at the time of launch of Jal Jeevan Mission, only 3.19 lakh (7.03%) households had tap water supply. In 21 months, 2.49 lakh households (5.49%) in the State have been provided tap water connections, which is second slowest in the country. Chhattisgarh has to provide tap water connections to remaining 39.78 lakh households to become ‘Har Ghar Jal’ State. The water supply work to provide tap water connection has not yet started in 5,530 villages in Chhattisgarh. To become ‘Har Ghar Jal’, the State has planned to provide tap water connections to 22.14 lakh households in 2021-22, 11.37 lakh tap water connections in 2022-23 and remaining 6.29 lakh tap water connections in 2023-24.
In the year 2020-21, Chhattisgarh could only provide 1.51 lakh tap connections. Urging the State to accelerate the pace of implementation andemphasizing the work of providing tap connections should start in all the villages to make Chhattisgarh ‘Har Ghar Jal’ by 2023, Union Minister, Jal Shakti, Shri Gajendra Singh Shekhawat has written a letter to the Chief Minister of Chhattisgarh.
In 2020-21, Rs. 445.52 Crore Central grant was allocated to the State but due to slow pace of implementation, the State could draw only Rs.334.14 Crore, and surrendered Rs.111.48 Crore meant for tap water supply in rural areas of the State. This year with four-fold increase in Central allocation (Rs 1,908.96 crore), unspent balance of Rs 168.52 Crore & short fall of Rs. 113.04 Crore in State matching share in 2020-21, and matching State’s share in current year, the State has an assured availability of Rs. 4,268 Crore under Jal Jeevan Mission for water supply work in 2021-22. Thus, there is no shortage of fund availability. The Union Minister has hoped that the State would make all efforts to use this grant to provide tap water to every rural household.
In 2021-22, Rs. 646 Crore has been allocated to Chhattisgarh as 15th FC tied grant for water & sanitation to Rural Local Bodies/ PRIs. There is an assured funding of Rs 3,402 Crore for the next five years i.e. up to 2025-26. This huge investment in rural areas of Chhattisgarh, will create new employment opportunities, accelerate economic activities and 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 Chhattisgarh only 11,521 schools (25%) and 4,810 anganwadi centres (10%) have access to piped water supply, which is a matter of deep concern. Union Minister, Jal Shakti, Shri Gajendra Singh Shekhawat has urged the State to ensure that in few months, provision of safe tap water is made in all remaining schools, ashramshalas and anganwadi centres for better health, improved sanitation and hygiene for children.
Under Jal Jeevan Mission, the State also needs to accord priority to water-scarce areas, quality-affected villages, Aspirational districts, SC/ ST majority villages and Saansad Adarsh Gram Yojana (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). In Chhattisgarh, out of a total of 68 laboratories, only 3 are NABL accredited. State needs to upgrade the water testing laboratories and secure their NABL accreditation.
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. Considering the large number of villages Chhattisgarh, the State needs to engage more as Implementation Support Agencies (ISAs) than planned 14 in 2021-22. 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.
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.