New Delhi : Prime Minister Narendra Modi interacted with Gram Panchayats and Pani Samitis / Village Water and Sanitation Committees (VWSC) on Jal Jeevan Mission today through video conference. He launched the Jal Jeevan Mission App for improving awareness among stakeholders and for greater transparency and accountability of schemes under the Mission. He also launched Rashtriya Jal Jeevan Kosh, where any individual, institution, corporation, or philanthropist, be it in India or abroad, can contribute to help provide tap water connection in every rural household, school, Anganwadi centre, ashram shala, and other public institutions. Along with members of Gram Panchayats and Pani Samitis, Union Ministers Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, Prahlad Singh Patel, Bishweswar Tudu, Chief Ministers and Ministers from states were present.
Interacting with the Samitis, the Prime Minister enquired Girijakant Tiwari of Umaree village of District Banda from Uttar Pradesh, about the impact of Jal Jeevan mission in his village. Shri Tiwari informed that now safe and clean water is available and has improved the lives of women of the village. The Prime Minister asked Shri Tiwari whether their villagers believed that they would get piped water connection and how they feel now. Shri Tiwari talked about the collective efforts in the village for the mission. Shri Tiwari informed that every household has toilets in the village and everyone is using them. The Prime Minister praised the villagers of Bundelkhand for their dedication and said that Women are getting empowered and getting their due dignity through schemes like PM AWAS, Ujjwalla and Jal Jeevan Mission.
The Prime Minister asked Shri Rameshbhai Patel of Pipli, Gujarat about the availability of water in his village. He also asked whether the quality of the water is checked regularly. Shri Rameshbhai informed that quality is good and women of the village have been trained to check the quality. The Prime Minister asked whether people pay for the drinking water. Shri Rameshbhai informed that the value of water is very clear to the villages and there is a willingness to pay for it. The PM asked about the use of sprinklers and drip irrigation in saving the water. The Prime Minister was informed that innovative irrigation techniques are being used in the village. The Prime Minister, referring to Swachh Bharat Mission 2.0, said that people have given massive support to the mission for cleanliness and he hoped the same success for the Jal Jeevan Mission.
Prime Minister enquired from Smt Kaushalya Rawat of Uttarakhand about the availability of water before and after the Jal Jeevan mission. She also informed that tourists have started coming to their village and staying in homestay after the availability of water through the Jal Jeevan mission. Smt Rawat informed that her village is fully vaccinated. The Prime Minister praised her and the villages for adopting sustainable practices like forrestation, improving tourism, and homestay.
Prime Minister enquired Smt Sudha, Vellery, Tamil Nadu about the impact of Jal Jeevan mission. She informed that after the mission all the houses have got piped drinking water connection. He also enquired about the world-famous Arni silk saree production in her village. The PM also asked whether piped drinking water connection has saved her time for other household activities. Smt Sudha informed that the availability of water has improved their life and they have time for other productive activities. She informed the activities done by her village for saving rainwater like construction of check dams, ponds, etc. The Prime Minister termed the adoption of the water mission by the people a major step in the direction of the empowerment of women.
Interacting with Smt Laithanthem Sarojini Devi ji of Manipur, Shri Modi was informed that earlier water was available only at great distances and in long queues. Now the situation has improved as all households have piped water. She also informed that becoming ODF and fully covered village has led to better health in the village. She also informed that regular testing of water quality is a norm in her village, and five women have been trained to do that. The Prime Minister said that the government is working consistently for bringing Ease of Living in the lives of people. He expressed satisfaction that real change is happening in the Northeast.
Addressing the gathering, the Prime Minister said villages were part of the hearts of Bapu and Bahadur Shastri ji. He expressed happiness that on this day, people from lakhs of villages across the country are organizing ‘Jal Jeevan Samvad’ in the form of ‘Gram Sabhas’.
The Prime Minister said the vision of Jal Jeevan Mission is not just to make water accessible to the people. This is also a big movement of Decentralization. “This is a village-driven- women-driven Movement. Its main base is a mass movement and public participation” he said. The Prime Minister recalled that Gandhiji used to say that the real meaning of ‘Gram Swaraj’ is to be full of self-confidence. “That’s why it has been my constant effort that this thinking of Gram Swaraj should move forward towards accomplishments,” said the Prime Minister. Shri Modi recalled measure taken during his tenure as Chief Minister of Gujarat for Gram Swaraj such as , Nirmal Gaon for ODF villages, Jal Mandir Abhiyan to revive old Baories and wells in villages, Jyotirgram for 24 hour electricity in villages, Teerth Gram for camaraderie in villages, e-Gram for broadband in villages. As Prime Minister also, he said that he worked to involve local communities in the planning and management of schemes. He informed that for this, specially for water and cleanliness, more than 2,5 lakh crore rupees have been given directly to Gram Panchayats. He also said, along with the powers, transparency of the working of panchayats is also being monitored closely. Jal Jeevan Mission and Paani Samities are a key example of the Central Government’s commitment to Gram Swaraj, he said.
Referring to popular conceptions of the problem of water, the Prime Minister talked of movies, stories, poems that tell in detail how the women and children of the village walked miles to fetch water. In the minds of some people, this picture emerges as soon as the name of the village is taken. The Prime Minister asked why so few people think about the question: why do these people have to go to some river or pond every day, after all, why does the water not reach these people? “I think those who had the responsibility of policy-making for a long time, should have asked themselves this question,” the Prime Minister remarked. The Prime Minister said that perhaps the earlier policy-makers did not realize the importance of water as they came from water abundant areas. Shri Modi said, coming from a state like Gujarat he has seen drought conditions and knows the importance of every drop of water. That is why being the Chief Minister of Gujarat, providing water to the people and water conservation were his priorities.
The Prime Minister said from independence till 2019, only 3 crore households in our country had access to tap water. Since the launch of Jal Jeevan Mission in 2019, 5 crore households have been connected with water connections. Today, water is reaching every household in about 1.25 lakh villages in about 80 districts of the country. In the Aspirational districts the number of tap connections have increased from 31 lakh to 1.16 crore.
He noted that in just two years, more work has been done than was done in the last seven decades. He appealed to every citizen of the country who lives in an abundance of water, to make more efforts to save water. And called upon them to change their habits too.
The Prime Minister enumerated measures to improve the health and safety of the daughters of the country. He informed that measures like toilets in every home and school, affordable sanitary pads, nutrition support during pregnancy and immunisation have strengthened the ‘MatraShakti’. He informed that most of the 2.5 crore houses constructed in the villages are in the name of women, Ujjwala has relieved women of smoke-filled life. Women are being integrated with atma nirbharta mission via Self Help Groups and these groups have increased three fold in the last seven years. He also informed that there has been 13 times increase in the last seven years in support to women under National Livelihood Mission as compared to five preceding years to 2014.