jal-jeevan-mission-har-ghar-jal

CONTEXT

Drinking water supply scheme of Rs.15,381 crore has been approved under Jal Jeevan Mission in Madhya Pradesh in the state level scheme sanctioning committee, since the state plans to provide tap water supply to all rural households by 2023.

JAL JEEVAN MISSION

  • The mission was announced by the Prime Minister in 2019 to improve the quality of life and enhance the ease of living of people of the country
  • The aim of mission is to provide functional tap connection to every rural household by 2024
  • The target to reach all rural households by 2024 is 6 years well ahead of the sustainable development goal 6, the policy could become a model for other developing countries to adopt such practices and achieve SDG-6
  • The mission would also provide boost to manufacturing industry, create job opportunities and help the rural economy
  • Assured tap supply in rural homes reduces the drudgery of women and provide them with quality time to educate themselves and their children, to learn a new skills and explore better livelihood options

Focus on service delivery

  • The focus under the mission has shifted to assured supply of potable water to every home rather than merely infrastructure creation
  • Massive training and skilling programs have been undertaken to build the capacity of public health engineers and local community to ensure regular service delivery to every home
  • Jal Jeevan Mission has identified key priority areas such as water quality affected habitations, villages in desert and drought prone areas, SC/ST majority and Sansad Adarsh Gram Yojana villages

Ensuring good quality of drinking water

  • Consumption of contaminated water leads to water borne diseases, groundwater is the major source of drinking water and in some parts of country there are geo-genic contaminants like arsenic, fluoride, nitrate, heavy metals etc
    • All villages with the water quality issues have been prioritised for potable tap water supply under the mission
    • Provisions have also been made to install community water purification plants to provide safe water as an interim measure , in case the building of surface water based system takes time
  • Drinking water quality testing laboratories have been opened in various states and UTs to the general public so that they can get their water samples tested at nominal charges and ascertain the quality of drinking water
  • It would help in improvement of public health and reduce the water borne diseases benefiting the entire rural population especially the vulnerable groups like pregnant women and children

Special focus on children

  • Children are more susceptible to the water borne diseases and spend a considerable amount of time in their educational spaces like schools and anganwadi centres
  • Therefore making provision of potable tap water in these institutions was taken up in a campaign mode
  • A 100 day campaign was launched in 2020 to ensure potable tap water supply in adequate quantity for drinking and cooking mid day meals & for hand washing and use in toilets

Making water everyone's business

  • The mission adopts an end-to-end approach where the focus is on source sustainability, water supply, grey water treatment & its re-use and operation & maintenance
  • Every village has been mandated to prepare a village action plan co terminus with 15th finance commission period, to capture details to be achieved by dovetailing all the available village resources
  • The holistic approach would help in achieving long-term water security by judicious utilisation of resources
  • The motto of Jal Jeevan Mission is ' building partnerships, changing lives',  NGOs, SHGs, women are being engaged as implementation support agencies for planning, mobilizing and engaging communities for dissemination of information
  • Trusts, foundations, NGOs are empanelled as sector partners as the mission aims to harness the huge potential of people by reaching out to organisations working in the drinking water sector willing to work for mobilization and enhancement of capacity of communities to achieve the goal of mission in a time bound manner
  • The scheme also focuses on involvement of women at every step since they are primary stakeholders in drinking water sector, the gram sabha forms a Pani Samiti with 50% women and 25% from weaker sections of society proportionate to their population

Technological interventions

  • Jal Jeevan Mission (JJM) leverages the use of technology to ensure transparency, accountability, proper utilisation of funds and service delivery
  • A robust JJM-IMIS capital physical and financial progress under JJM weather dedicated dashboard in public domain
  • Mobile app has been developed for the use of all stakeholders to bring in ease of working
  • A sensor based IoT solution has been piloted for measurement and monitoring water supply with respect to quantity, quality and regularity in villages on a real-time basis, every water supply asset created is geo tagged
  • Hydro geomorphological maps having used in planning of single village schemes in identification of drinking water sources as well as for building aquifer recharge structures
  • Also the household tap connections provided have been linked with the aadhaar number of the head of the household and all financial transactions are undertaken through public finance management system (PFMS)

WHAT MORE NEEDS TO BE DONE ?

  • Flexible planning: India presents a mosaic of challenges emanating from diverse climate conditions, topography, settlement patterns, water endowments etc
    • Thus, to ensure long-term sustainability any centrally conceptualized plan needs to go beyond a one-size-fits-all approach and remain flexible to modification for incorporating regional diversity
    • There is a need for mission to take into cognizance the localised diversity and remain flexible in its planning and implementation process
  • Bottom up approach: the mission needs to encourage a bottom-up, participatory and inclusive approach for planning and implementation
    • It would help in minimization of exclusions due to acts of omission and the goal of universal access to safe and reliable drinking water through pipe connection could be achieved
  • Problems on the ground: the truly remote areas which are otherwise also so outside the radar of administration are still waiting, in some areas the focus has been on raising infrastructure for the scheme without much thought about the location
    • Especially the tribal dominated districts in various states have suffered, as JJM has reached only to those areas that are easily accessible by motorable roads
  • Implementation issues: just like any other government schemes,at some places taps do not yield water, at some only the pipeline has been laid but not taps, at other places pipelines are there but from which these would get water have no connection to the source etc
  • Hygienic conditions: hygienic conditions due to lack of water is a matter of concern and so is it due to excessive waters like floods
    • For instance in places like flood prone Bihar, where in most years flooding occurs twice for long duration during the monsoon, merely focusing on getting the infrastructure would not help
  • Concerns for Himalayan States- there is the need to bring in the mountain perspective- water scarcity hotspots, changing developmental paradigm and erratic rainfall pattern as the scheme would turn successful in the mountains only when the sources are secure
  • Focus on demand side- no incentives for saving water has been provided under the scheme.
    • The long-term sustainability needs to be regenerative, which would be possible by offering incentive for people who save water thereby decreasing the demand pressure

WAY FORWARD

  • To achieve the goal of Jal Jeevan Mission, communities should be trained and empowered to plan, implement, manage, operate and maintain their in-village water supply system
  • There is a paradigm shift from the department based and construction based approach to service delivery approach with empowerment of community for managing water supply in their villages
  • Gram panchayats or Pani samitis should function as local water utilities with skills to ensure tap water supply in adequate quantity of prescribed quality on a regular and long term basis to every home, thus, Jal Prabuddh Gaon (water enlightened villages) would lead the path to make Atma nirbhar Bharat that is self reliant India

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