New Delhi: Union Minister of Jal Shakti, Gajendra Singh Shekhawat has said that the Government is taking all-out efforts to provide safe piped drinking water supply to all households in the country by 2024.
Inaugurating the one-day National Conference on ‘Provision of Potable Drinking Water in Quality-Affected Areas’, he said that the programme is being implemented in Mission mode as declared by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his Independence Day speech from the ramparts of the Red Fort last year.
Shekhawat stated that nearly 73 years after Independence only 18.33% of rural households or 3.27 crore out of around 18 crore rural households in the country have piped water connection. Globally, India is ranked a lowly 120 in terms of water quality parameters.
Lauding the success of Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM), Shekhawat said that reputed International agencies including the WHO have hailed its success. The Department of Drinking Water and Sanitation (DWS) is now working towards ensuring that none is left behind without access to a household toilet, he added.
Shekhawat informed that studies revealed that huge investments in the SBM programme have resulted in an annual savings of Rs 50,000 per family due to decline in outgoes towards medical expenses. At the same time, Government expenditure on the Health sector has also come down. Besides, there is an indirect impact on the health of crops, milching cattle and poultry, he added.
Shekhawat said that it would be a challenge to provide 52,000 habitations with safe drinking water under the Jal Jeevan Mission (JJM).
In his address, the Minister of State for Jal Shakti and Social Justice & Empowerment, Rattan Lal Kataria said due to overexploitation and industrial pollution, the groundwater has been contaminated with harmful chemicals like fluoride, arsenic, nitrates, mercury and lead resulting in a public health concern.
Speaking on the occasion, Secretary, DWS, Parameswaran Iyer said that women will be the focus of the Village Water and Sanitation Committees (VWSC) or Paani Samitis that will manage, operate and maintain the drinking water supply at the ground level.
The Operational Guidelines for implementation of the JJM state that half of the members of these Samitis will have to be women. There will be equal representation of elected panchayat members and representatives from SC/ST community for rest 50% of the members in the committee.
The goal of JJM is to provide functional household tap connection to every household with service level at the rate of 55 litres per capita per day (lpcd).
The Government of India had restructured and subsumed the National Rural Drinking Water Programme (NRDWP) into JJM to provide Functional Household Tap Connection (FHTC) to every rural household under ‘Har Ghar Nal Se Jal’ plan by 2024.
Approved by the Union Cabinet on 13 August 2019, the total project cost of JJM is estimated to be about Rs 3.60 lakh crore. The Central Govt 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% for Union Territories.
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