Andaman & Nicobar Islands presented the progress on implementation of Jal Jeevan Mission in the Union Territory before the National Jal Jeevan Mission through video conferencing. Through ‘Jal Jeevan Mission’, Government of India is making all efforts to provide every rural household in the country a tap connection for potable water in adequate quantity and of prescribed quality on regular and long-term basis. Objective of this flagship programme is to bring improvements in the lives of rural people by providing potable water at their doorsteps and ensure ‘ease of living’.
Out of 65,096 rural households spread over 400 villages in the UT, 33,889 have tap water connections. The UT plans to provide household tap connections to remaining households in 2021. Piped water supply systems exist in 290 villages. Efforts are made to provide tap water connections to the remaining households in these villages as well as to reach out to those villages where there is no water supply system. UT has been advised to focus on SC/ ST dominated habitations, being a priority area under the mission.
Local community through Gram Panchayat or its sub-committee i.e. Village Water & Sanitation Committee (VWSC) will play a pivotal role in planning, implementation, management, operation and maintenance of water supply systems in villages to ensure water supply on regular and long-term basis. VWSCs are encouraged to take responsibility of water supply systems in villages for regular upkeep and operation & maintenance as well as fix user charges for the households. Not only emphasis is given on revamping of traditional water bodies, but due care also is given on grey water treatment and re-use in the villages. Convergence of various programme such as MGNREGS, SBM, etc. need to happen at village level for dovetailing of funds as well as efforts for source strengthening, water harvesting, aquifer recharge, water treatment and grey-water management, etc.
The UT was asked to organize training for capacity building of Gram Panchayat functionaries as well as other stakeholders as well as to focus on skill development training in villages to create a pool of trained human resources at village level, which will be very helpful in implementation as well O&M of water supply systems. The UT has been advised to focus on 24*7 service delivery in rural areas, so that the Gram Pachayats can act as ‘public utilities’ with focus on ‘service delivery’. UT to explore installing IoT based sensors for real time monitoring of water supply in the villages.
Under Jal Jeevan Mission, water quality is given paramount importance. Water testing laboratories are established at different levels. Community is being involved for surveillance of water quality. Efforts are made to empower and engage with the community, for which various activities are planned viz. procurement of Field Test Kits (FTKs), supply of kits to the community, identification of at least five persons preferably women in every village, training women for use of Field Test Kits, so that water supplied at village level could be tested in situ. Ministry of Jal Shakti has launched a 100-day campaign to ensure potable water supply in all schools and anganwadi centers across the country. The UT will ensure piped water supply in all these institutions within the campaign period.