Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday released the operational guidelines for Jal Jeevan Mission (JJM) which primarily implements the ‘Har Ghar Jal’ scheme. It aims towards giving tap water supply to kitchen, toilets and the washing area in all Indian rural households by the year 2024. Women participation plays a key role in the planning, implementation and monitoring of the water supplying scheme.

The Objectives of Jal Jeevan Mission

These new guidelines emphasise on the critical role of gram panchayats, Paani Samiti and sanitation committee (VWSC) to ensure that 81% of rural households get 55 litres per person per day within the given deadline. However, due to the participation of local people in the maintenance of the water supply system, there is a precondition for at least 80% of village households to agree for implementation.

NITI Aayog had, in a report last June, flagged off that about 600 million people faced high to extreme water stress, and about 200,000 people die every year because of inadequate access to safe water, a crisis that would only get worse.

The scheme also aims towards the creation of infrastructure for rainwater harvesting, groundwater recharge, and management of household waste for reuse in agriculture.

Implementation of Jal Jeevan Mission

To implement the JJM, there will be institutional mechanisms at four levels: National, state, district and at gram panchayat. It was launched to conserve groundwater in seven states facing acute water shortages.

To ensure women play a bigger role in the implementation, the guidelines said that 50 percent of the members of the Samiti would be women. There will be equal representation from all the sections of the society including the ST/SC community and 50 percent for other members of the community.

“For proper use of water, reducing water wastage and improving ease of living for women and girls, three taps may be provided at kitchen, washing and bathing area and in the toilet.” the guidelines said.

The government document shows that there will be three different sub-schemes for the nationwide programme. The first will be efficiency in completing rural water supply schemes in order to make ‘Har Ghar Jal’ viable. The second will be a single village scheme (SVS) where a certain level of groundwater is available. Third, where grids/regional water supplies have to be installed.

Read Also: Why women’s involvement is so vital to water projects’ success – or failure

Benefits of Jal Jeevan Mission

  • Clean and drinkable water
  • Employment for women
  • Recharge of groundwater level
  • Increase in the productivity of crops
  • Better local infrastructure
  • Less water-borne diseases
  • Less water wastage

Is Jal Jeevan Mission Needed?

Statistics show that out of 17.87 crore rural households in the country, about 14.6 crore or 81.67 percent are yet to have household water tap connections.

The need for conservation of water by the authorities comes after the water crisis affecting several parts of the country. NITI Aayog had, in a report last June, flagged off that about 600 million people faced high to extreme water stress, and about 200,000 people die every year because of inadequate access to safe water, a crisis that would only get worse.

These new guidelines emphasise on the critical role of gram panchayats, Paani Samiti and sanitation committee (VWSC) to ensure that 81 percent of rural households get 55 litres per person per day within the given deadline.

PM Modi in his speech added, earlier the complaint from regions like Punjab and Haryana was of high groundwater level hurting the crops but 20 years later, the complaint is about depleting water levels. He expressed his concern over water shortage, he urged farmers to conserve rainwater, cultivate alternative crops and move towards micro-irrigation.

Cost of the Mission

As per the PM Modi’s announcement during his speech, the mission would cost around more than Rs.3.5 lakh crore in coming years. The central share will be Rs.2.08 lakh crore. The fund sharing pattern to be 90:10 for Himalayan and North-Eastern States; 50:50 for other States and 100 percent for Union Territories. However, both centre and state governments will work together to achieve Jal Jeevan Mission’s targets.

Gaurika Taneja is an intern with SheThePeople.TV

Picture Credit: techxplore.com

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