New Delhi: Central government has increased the grant-in-aidin 2021-22 to Maharashtra under theJal Jeevan Mission to Rs. 7,064.41 Crore, which was Rs. 1,828.92 Crores in 2020-21. Union Minister, Jal Shakti, Shri Gajendra Singh Shekhawat while approving thisfour-fold increase in allocationhas assured full assistance to the State for making provision of tap water supply in every rural home by 2024.
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 lockdowns disruptions, Jal Jeevan Mission, has been implemented with speed and 4.27 Crore households have been provided with piped water connections. With this increase in coverage by 22%, presently 7.51 Crore (39.12%) rural households across the country have tap water supply. Goa, Telangana, Andaman & Nicobar Islands and Puducherry have achieved 100% household tap 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 Maharashtra, out of a total of 142 lakh rural households, 91.30 lakh households (64.14%) have been provided with tap water connections.On 15th August 2019, at the time of launch of Jal Jeevan Mission, only 48.43 lakh (34.02%)households had tap water supply.In 21 months, 42.86 lakh households in the State have been provided tap water connections. In 2021-22, State has planned to provide tap water connections to 27.45 lakh households,18.72 lakh tap water connections in the year 2022-23and 5.14 lakh tap connections in 2023-24 to achieve tap water supplyfor every rural household.
The water supply work to provide tap water connection has not yet started in 29,417 villages in Maharashtra. Union Minister, Jal Shakti, Shri Gajendra Singh Shekhawat has written a letter to Chief Minister of Maharashtra, emphasising the work of providing tap connections should start in all the villages so that the state can provide tap water supply to every household by 2024. He has urged the state to recover the pace of implementation, which was 1.59 lakh tap water connections per month in the last quarter of 2020-21, which has dropped to about 9,800 tap water connections in April and May.
In 2020-21, Rs. 1,828.92 Crore Central grant was allocated to the State but State could not draw Rs. 1,371.69 Crore and surrendered this grant meant for tap water supply in rural areas of the State. This year with four-fold increase in Central allocation (Rs. 7,064.41 Crore), unspent balance of Rs. 268.99 Crore andshortfall in State matching share of Rs. 149.43 Crores in 2020-21, and matching State share in current year, the State has an assured availability of Rs. 14,547.24 Croreunder Jal Jeevan Mission for water supply work in 2021-22. Thus, there is no shortage of fund for water supply.
In 2021-22, Rs. 2,584 Crore have been allocated to Maharashtra as 15thFC tied grant for water & sanitation to Rural Local Bodies/ PRIs. There is an assured funding of Rs. 13,628 Crore for the next five years i.e. up to 2025-26. This huge investment in rural areas of Maharashtra, will accelerate economic activities and also boost rural economy. It will create new employment opportunities in villages.
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 Shekhawat on 2ndOctober, 2020. As aresult, States/ UTs like Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, Goa, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Andaman & Nicobar Islands have made provision of tap water in all schools, ashramshalas and anganwadi centres. In Maharashtra65,301 schools (76%) and 60,082 anganwadi centers(66%) are provided with tap water connections. 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.
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). Out of 177 district and sub-divisional laboratories, only 10 are NABL accredited. State needs to upgrade the water testing laboratories and secure NABL accreditation for them.
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 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. So far Maharashtra has 25,926 VWSCs or Pani Samitis in 40,596 villages.
In the year 2020-21, the State had planned to engage 139 NGOs as Implementing State Agencies (ISAs) but could not complete the process. In the year 2021-22, the state plans to engage 104 ISAs each supportingabout 300 villages. 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 15thAugust, 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 15thFinance 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.