Union Government of India has increased the central grant to Jharkhand under the Jal Jeevan Mission in the year 2021-22 to Rs 2,479.88 Crore, which was Rs 572.24 Crore in 2020-21. 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 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 22 months, despite Covid-19 pandemic and lockdown disruptions, Jal Jeevan Mission, has been implemented with speed and 4.39 Crore households have been provided with piped connections. With the increase in coverage by 23%, presently 7.62 Crore (nearly 40%) 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 63 districts and around 95 thousand villages, every household has tap water supply.
In Jharkhand, out of 58.95 lakh households in 29,752 villages only 7.72 lakh households (13%) have been provided with tap water connections. On 15th August 2019, at the time of launch of Jal Jeevan Mission, only 3.45 lakh (5.85%) households had tap water supply. In 22 months, 4.27 lakh households (7.24%) in the State have been provided tap water connections. However, in comparison to national average of 23%, increase in providing tap water supply in Jharkhand is very slow. In the year 2020-21 only 2.99 lakh tap water connections were provided in the State. With this pace providing tap water connection to remaining 51.23 lakh households is a big task.
In 2020-21, State could not utilize the grants available due to slow speed of implementation. In 2020-21, Rs 572.24 Crore Central grant was available with the State but it could draw only Rs 143.06 Crores only and surrendered Rs 429.18 Crores meant for tap water supply in rural areas of the State.
To assist the State to provide tap water supply to every household by 2024, Union Minister, Jal Shakti, Shri Gajendra Singh Shekhawat has increased the Central allocation four-folds to Rs 2,479.88 crore. With this enhanced Central allocation, unspent balance of Rs 137.93 Crore and matching State’s share of Rs 2,617.81 Crore, Jharkhand has an assured availability of Rs 5,235.62 Crore under Jal Jeevan Mission for water supply work in 2021-22. However, the State is yet to sent a proposal for release of first tranche of Central allocation.
Union Minister, Jal Shakti, Shri Gajendra Singh Shekhawat has written a letter to the Chief Minister of Jharkhand, emphasizing the work of providing tap connections should start in all the villages so that the state can provide tap water supply by 2024. Shri Shekhawat has hoped that this enhanced allocation will enable the State to expedite the implementation to achieve various planned activities under Jal Jeevan Mission to provide tap water connection to every household in rural areas. The Union Minister has urged that the State would make all out efforts to receive and utilize the entire grant available. This huge investment in rural areas of Jharkhand will create new employment opportunities, accelerate economic activities and also boost rural economy in the State.
In addition to the above, in 2021-22, Rs 750 Crore has been allocated to Jharkhand as 15th FC tied grant for water & sanitation to Rural Local Bodies/ PRIs. There is an assured funding of Rs 3,952 Crore for the next five years i.e. up to 2025-26.
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 Jharkhand 5,867 schools (14%) and 962 anganwadi centres (2%) only have access to piped water supply. Central Government has asked 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.
In his letter, Union Minister, Jal Shakti, Shri Gajendra Singh Shekhawat has reiterated the emphasis given by the Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi to provide tap water on priority during this year to all households in water-scarce areas, quality-affected villages, Aspirational districts, SC/ ST majority villages and Saansad Adarsh Gram Yojna (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 a total of 33 water testing laboratories in the State, only 7 labs are NABL accredited. The State needs to expedite the upgradation of these water testing laboratories and secure their NABL accreditation. These labs should be open to public so that they can get their water samples tested at a nominal cost.
Under Jal Jeevan Mission, ‘bottom up’ approach is followed, wherein community plays a pivotal 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. So far Jharkhand has 23,882 VWSCs or Pani Samitis in 29,752 villages and only 2,986 Village Action Plan (VAPs) have been prepared. In the year 2021-22, the State has planned to engage 53 Implementing State Agencies (ISAs). Jharkhand needs to train more than 2 lakh people in rural areas to ensure 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.