Kerala to provide about 30 lakh new connections in 2021-22

New Delhi: Annual Action Plan (AAP) on planning and implementation of Jal Jeevan Mission (JJM) in Kerala was presented, wherein Kerala State officials outlined the roadmap of the financial year 2021-2022 to the national committee via video conferencing. Kerala has 67.15 lakh rural households, out of which around 21.55 lakh l households have tap water supply. In 2020-21, about 4 lakh connections were provided and in 2021-22, the State plans to provide about 30 lakh new connections. The State plans to achieve the target of ‘Har Ghar Jal’ by 2024. The State also plans to provide potable water in all quality-affected habitations by June 2021 through piped water supply or Community Water Purification Plants (CWPP). State has been urged to give top priority to coverage of households in SC/ ST majority areas, Aspirational districts

Jal Jeevan Mission is the flagship programme of Government of India, which aims to provide household tap water connection to every rural household by 2024. Since announcement of the mission in August 2019, 4.17 Core new tap connections have been provided in the rural areas of the country during this period. As a result, 7.40 Crore (38.56%) rural households have tap water supply vis-à-vis 3.23 Crore (17%) in 2019.

Under Jal Jeevan Mission, preparation of Village Action Plan (VAP) and constitution of Village Water & Sanitation Committee for every village is of utmost importance, so that the local community are not only the key stakeholder in planning, implementation of the water supply schemes in the village, but also in the long-run the villagers are empowered to operate and maintain the water supply infrastructure created under the ‘Har Ghar Jal’ programme. Efforts are made to dovetail all available resources by convergence of different programmes viz. MGNREGS, SBM, 15th Finance Commission Grants to PRIs, CAMPA funds, Local Area Development Funds, etc. The State has to involve the local village community/ Gram Panchayats and/or user groups in planning, implementation, management, operation and maintenance of water supply systems in villages to ensure long-term sustainability thereby help achieve drinking water security. The State was urged to start IEC campaign through community engagement in all villages.

The national committee carries out thorough scrutiny of the proposed Annual Action Plan (AAP) prepared by States/ UTs before finalizing the same. Thereafter, funds are released in tranches based on physical and financial progress. Regular field visits, review meetings are held to ensure implementation of the Annual Action Plan to achieve the goal of ‘Har Ghar Jal’.

The national committee analysed and advised on the plan presented by the State. The State was urged to speed up the implementation and make concerted efforts to not just complete the task from last year but also fast-track the work planned for the current year.The committee emphasized the preparation of Village Action Plans and the constitution of Village Water &Sanitation Committee/ Pani Samiti as a sub-committee of Gram Panchayat with a minimum 50% of women members. Also, emphasis is required on Water Quality Monitoring & Surveillance (WQM&S) activities to ensure FTK testing at Gram Panchayat level, Aanganwadi centres and schools.

Being a pioneer in decentralised planning and with a strong PRI system, State has immense potential to successfully implement this community-driven programme. The ministry recommended testing of drinking water to assess quality as it’s very important to gauge biological contamination in water. Strengthening/ up-gradation of drinking water laboratories in the State and opening them for the public to get their water samples tested at a nominal rate may be made a priority. The State was advised on the training of at least 5 persons, preferably women, in every village for surveillance of water quality through field test kits (FTKs).

JJM is a flagship programme of the Union Government, which aims to provide piped potable water to every rural household by 2024. In 2021-22, Rs. 50,000 Crore budgetary allocation has been made for Jal Jeevan Mission. In addition to this, there is also Rs. 26,940 Crore assured fund available under the 15th Finance Commission tied grants to RLBs/ PRIs for water & sanitation, matching State share and externally aided projects. Thus, in 2021-22, more than Rs. 1 lakh Crore is planned to be invested in the country on ensuring tap water supply to rural homes. This huge investment will give a boost to manufacturing activities, create employment opportunities in rural areas as well boost the rural economy.