Post Mortem

Jal Jeevan Mission : A social revolution through water

By Nagaland Post | Publish Date: 2/12/2021 2:31:26 PM IST

 I grew up in a small village in Haryana. Coming from a poor Dalit family, poverty and exclusion were the only flavours of life. My parents’ daily schedule hinged around securing a 2 course meal for their family. My father worked as a shoe maker while my mother toiled hard as a wage labourer. 

I remember her ordeal, walking tirelessly up to the designated well, each day, just to fetch drinking water.Her resolve to secure drinking water for her children gave her the grit to brave all physical and social hardships she faced in this process. 

Later in life, I was fortunate enough to witness piped water connections in our village, but this time the caste-class matrix dictated the selection of esteemed beneficiaries. 

The poor and marginalised were again devoid of their basic right to clean drinking water. Years passed by and by 2019, we as a Nation, could provide piped water supply to a mere 3.23 Crore rural households out of a total 18.93 Crore rural households.

But, it was after 72 years of Independence -2019 that from the precincts of Red fort, our Prime Mi-nister Sh. Narendra Modi announced his resolve to provide piped water connections to every rural household under governments flagship program“Jal Jeevan Mission”.Present at the Red fort at that historic moment, my past flashed in front of my eyes. 

I remembered how late Atal Bihari Vajpayee ji, during his visit to my village for performing kanyadaan of my sister, described piped water con-nection as a conduit to dignity of life for each household. 

That moment,I considered myself fortu-nate to be serving in the newly formed Jal Shakti Ministry and saw“Jal Jeevan Mission” as a God-sent opportunity. 

Each day, the entire team led under the dynamic leadership of our Prime Minister is working tirelessly to accomplish this unprecedentedtask.

I proudly announce that in a short span of 1 year, 3.04 Crore households have been provided piped water connections as against 3.23 Crore households since Independence. Goa has emerged as the first State to achieve 100% coverage under Jal Jeevan Mission and as on date, 52 Districts, 660 Blocks, 39,317 Gram Panchayats and 73890 villages have achieved the targets of “Har Ghar Jal”. 

Encouraged by the promising results of Jal Jeevan Mission for rural households, Government of India, in the Budget 2021, made a historic announcement of launching Jal Jeevan Mission (Urban) to provide potable piped water supply to 2.68 crore urban households spread over 4,378 Urban local bodies with an outlay of Rs 2.87 lakh crore over a period of 5 years. 

The far reaching benefits of this mission are perhaps beyond estimation. 

However, there is something more significant that is happening as an implication of this Mission. 

A water connection is being provided to one and all irrespective of caste, community, religion, race etc. with an approach that - “No one is left behind”. Priority has been placed on Villages with ma-jority SC/ST population with the aim to secure 55 lpcd of water per capita. This secular and inclu-sive approach is primarily benefiting the people from backward castes and is proving to be a Socia-lRevolution. The Mission mandates provisioning of water supply infrastructure at an unprecedented scale. 

It re-quires skilled manpower like plumbers, masons, electricians, fitters, pump operators etc. which shall be met by skilling people from respective villages therefore, opening vistas for skilled employment in-situ.

The entire Mission follows a bottom-up approach. It requires formation of Village Water Supply Committees/Pani Samitis that shall prepare a Village Action Plan for themselves. Interestingly, these committees are mandated to have 50% women members, since women are most affected group and therefore their say is seen as a crucial input for the Mission’s effective implementation..

Lastly, Information Technology has been leveraged to collate and display realtime nationwide water data on a A Rashtriya Jal Jeevan Kosh (RJJK) is set up for accepting contributions from people whohave moved from villages but still nurture love for their native place. Soon, they will be able to donate, at the click of the mouse, for specific water supply related works by interacting with the members of Paani Samiti through this portal. 

Hence, Jal Jeevan Mission is not merely a scheme who’s outcome is limited to aggregate of connec-tions provided, ratherits ushering a social revolution marked by people’s participation, empower-ment, convergence, inclusion and equity.

Author Shri Rattan Lal Kataria is Union Minister of State for Jal Shakti/Social Justice and Empowerment, Government of India.


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