MPs to play an active role in making Jal Jeevan Mission a ‘Jan Andolan’ – Ministry of Jal Shakti to focus on community mobilization

New Delhi: Recognizing the key role Members of Parliament/ elected representatives can play in mobilizing the local community and empowering them to ensure assured piped water supply in rural homes, provisions have been made in the implementation of Jal Jeevan Mission to enable their participation to make Jal Jeevan Mission – Har Ghar Jal, a ‘Jan Andolan’. The National Jal Jeevan Mission (NJJM) issued an advisory to States elaborating on the roles; the Members of Parliament can play in achieving the goal of the Mission.

Jal Jeevan Mission (JJM) is being implemented in partnership with States to provide functional tap water connection to every rural home by 2024. JJM is a decentralized, demand-driven and community-managed programme with the Gram Panchayat and/ or its sub-committee, i.e. Village Water & Sanitation Committee (VWSC)/ Pani Samiti/ User Group, etc. playing a key role in planning, implementation, management, operation and maintenance of in-village water supply systems. The Mission envisions to empower Gram Panchayat and/ or its sub-committee, i.e. VWSC/ Pani Samiti to function as a ‘local water utility’ that focuses on water supply service delivery. Thus, efforts are being made to involve local community to make water everyone’s business.

Every village has to prepare a 5-year Village Action Plan (VAP) co-terminus with 15th Finance Commission by dovetailing all resources available under various schemes/ programmes in the village e.g. MGNREGS, 15th FC grants for PRIs, JJM, SBM(G) and other sources like District Mineral Development Fund (DMDF), CSR Fund, MP/ MLA Local Area Development Funds, public contributions, etc.

Starting with involvement of MPs in District Water &Sanitation Mission (DWSM), which includes review of progress of JJM in districts; promote community engagement and participation; prioritize convergence with MPLAD funds and other centrally sponsored scheme funds; resolution of bottlenecks in implementation of schemes; and overall to ensure that implementation of Jal Jeevan Mission – Har Ghar Jal is being done in accordance with provisions of the Operational Guidelines of the mission, so that every rural household gets assured potable tap water on regular and long-term basis.

MPs are already nominated as Co-Chairperson of the District Level District Development Coordination & Monitoring Committee (DISHA) of the Ministry of Rural Development. Their inputs/ suggestions would be considered while finalizing the District Action Plan (DAP) for 100% coverage for provision of drinking water in all rural households of the districts in their constituencies.

Further, before declaring any district as’ Har Ghar Jal’ district, i.e. districts with tap water supplyin every rural home, Members of Parliament whose constituencies are part of the district would be consulted so that ‘no one is left out’.

As envisaged in the programme, Village Action Plan (VAP) for five years co-terminus with 15th Finance Commission period is to be prepared for each village with active involvement of local community. These VAPshave components i.e. strengthening of local drinking water sources; in-village water supply infrastructure to provide tap water connections to every home and public institutions; grey water treatment and reuse; and operation & maintenance of water supply systems so as every family gets assured supply of potable water on regular and long-term basis. The VAP will be prepared by the Gram Panchayat/ VWSC/ Pani Samiti with the help from RWS/ PHE department and implementation support agencies (ISAs). The work and activities identified in the VAP will be implemented by dovetailing of resources available at village level under various schemes/ programmes. The VAP is the document to ensure long-term sustainability of water sources and systems in villages.People’s representatives will play a huge role in community mobilization, bring transparency and local community will have the water supply schemes of their choice and need. This is the true empowerment of people.

To bring in ‘sense of ownership’ and pride among rural communities, under Jal Jeevan Mission, there is a provision of 5% capital cost contribution in form of cash and/ or kind and/ or labour towards in-village water supply infrastructure in hilly, forested, and more than 50% SC/ ST population dominant villages, and 10% capital cost of the in-village infrastructure in remaining villages.

Considering the importance of water and sanitation in rural areas, 15th Finance Commission has identified water supply and sanitation as priority areas and accordingly, for rural local bodies, in 2020-21, Rs. 30,375 Crore ‘tied-grant’ has been allocated for a.) supply of drinking water, rain water harvesting and water recycling; and b.) sanitation and maintenance of open-defecation free (ODF) status, in villages. Thus, PRIs are to utilize this tied grant on water and sanitation for long-term sustainability.

States/ UTs have firmed up their timelines for 100% coverage of households with tap water connections. Timeline of States/ UTs for 100% coverage with FHTCs is as follows:

100% FHTCs in 2020: Goa

100% FHTCs in 2021: A&N Islands, Bihar, Puducherry and Telangana

100% FHTCs in 2022: Haryana, Jammu & Kashmir, Ladakh, Himachal Pradesh, Gujarat, Meghalaya, Punjab, Sikkim, Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh

100% FHTCs in 2023: Arunachal Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Manipur, Mizoram, Nagaland, Tamil Nadu and Tripura

100% FHTCs in 2024: Assam, Andhra Pradesh, Jharkhand, Maharashtra, Odisha, Rajasthan and West Bengal.

Safe water to children is critical for their well-being and holistic development. To facilitate piped water supply in anganwadi centres, ashramshalas (residential schools in tribal areas) and schools on priority, a 100-day campaign has been launched on 2nd October, 2020. Under the Campaign,focus is on making provision of safe piped water supply for drinking and cooking of mid-day meals along with piped water supply for hand washing and use in toilets. Considering the challenges faced by the States/ UTs to complete the works, the campaign is being continued till March 31, 2021. In this campaign, involvement of MPs will speed up in achieving assured tap water in schools, anganwadi centres and ashramshalas.

At the time of announcement of the Jal Jeevan Mission in August 2019, about 3.23 Crore (17%) households out of total 18.93 Crore rural households in the country, had tap water supply. Remaining 83% rural households are to be provided with tap water connections by 2024. Despite Covid-19 pandemic and resultant disruption, drinking water supply works continued and as a result, in this period, 3.28 Crore households were provided tap water connections. Thus, now, more than 1/3rd rural homes (34%) of the country i.e. 6.52 Crorerural households are now having tap water supply in their homes.

There is a healthy competition among the States/ UTs toperform better. This has provided further impetus to the ongoing efforts to provide tap water connections in rural homes and in schools, anganwadi centres and ashramshalas. Goa has become the first State in the country to provide tap water connections to all rural households followed by Telangana. As of now, in 52 districts, and in more than 660 Blocks, 38,000 Gram Panchayats and 72,000 villages, all households have started getting tap water supply.

With union Government’sfocus to improve the ‘quality of life’ and bring ‘ease of living’ of the people living in rural areas, involvement of the Members of Parliament in this flagship programme will make Jal Jeevan Mission,a people’s movement, i.e. Jan Andolan.