The yet-to-be formally initiated Nal se Jal scheme would aim to provide piped drinking water to every rural home by 2024 More in news
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- With the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan scheduled to officially complete its mission of an open defecation free India by October 2 this year, the government is expected to shift focus to the allied issue of water
- Since its launch by the Prime Minister in 2014, the rural component of the mission alone has attracted government spending of about ₹1 lakh crore, split between the Centre and States in a 60:40 ratio.
- Representatives of UNICEF and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which have both funded Swacch Bharat projects, said they were working on faecal sludge management projects for phase two, but expected that greater attention and government funding may now be focussed on a new piped water scheme.
- UNICEF study showing that groundwater is 12.7 times less likely to be contaminated in ODF villages than non-ODF villages.
- 84% of rural homes have no access to piped water while more than 70% of the country’s water is contaminated.
- For this, a new ministry, Jal Shakti Ministry, has been created which is expected to absorb the Drinking Water and Sanitation Ministry into itself.
- The scheme ‘Nal se Jal’ to provide piped drinking water to every household will be a component of the government’s Jal Jivan Mission.
- According to a 2018 NITI Aayog report, “600 million Indians face high to extreme water stress and about two lakh people die every year due to inadequate access to safe water.
- By 2030, the country’s water demand is projected to be twice the available supply, implying severe water scarcity for hundreds of millions of people and an eventual ~6% loss in the country’s GDP.
- However, government officials and funding agencies stress the importance of a second phase past October, with continued behaviour change and solid and liquid waste management programmes that are required to maintain the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan’s gains