As a follow-up to the National Jal Jeevan Mission teams’ visit to Maharashtra in October, 2021, a review meeting with Principal Secretary, Water Supply & Sanitation Department and his team was held at Ministry of Jal Shakti, New Delhi. The meeting was chaired by Additional Secretary & Mission Director, National Jal Jeevan Mission. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss the progress made by the State in implementation of Jal Jeevan Mission, and update about the plan and activities proposed for the remaining 5 months of the financial year as well as the strategies to be adopted for 100% coverage in a time-bound manner. The team shared their the challenges they encounter on ground as 145 blocks of Maharashtra are water-stressed.
In Maharashtra, out of a total of 1.42 Crore rural households, 95.52 lakh (67.10%) households have been provided with tap water connections. On 15th August 2019, at the time of the launch of Jal Jeevan Mission, 48.43 lakh households (34%) had access to tap water. In the last 26 months, 47.08 lakh households (33%) have been provided with tap water connections, despite Covid-19 pandemic and lockdowns. when construction activity was badly affected in the State. The State ensured that tap water connection reached more and more rural households so that gathering at public stand post to collect water could be avoided. In certain cases, Public Health Engineering Department provided tap water connections on priority in houses which had Corona infected patients and their family members were put on quarantine.
Translating the vision of Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi into action, the Union Minister Shri Gajendra Singh Shekhawat has increased the Central share of the budget by four-fold to the State so that there is no dearth of funds in implementing the programme. The fund allocated to Maharashtra in 2020-21 was Rs 1,829 Crore, which has been increased to Rs 7,064 Crore. While approving the increased allocation, the Union Minister had assured full assistance by the Centre to the State to ensure “Har Ghar Jal’ in Maharashtra.
In 2021-22, Rs 2,584 Crore is allocated to Maharashtra as 15th Finance Commission grant for water & sanitation to Rural Local Bodies/ PRIs and there is an assured funding of Rs 13,628 Crore for the next five years i.e. upto 2025-26 to the rural local bodies. This huge investment in rural areas of Maharashtra, will accelerate economic activities and boost rural economy. It will create employment opportunities for village water utility works.
Efforts are made to ensure tap water availability for drinking, cooking mid-day meal, washing hands and usage in toilets in all schools and anganwadi centres. As on date, 71,062 schools (83%) and 71,386 (78%) AWCs in Maharashtra have been provided with tap water connections.
Jal Jeevan Mission is implemented in a decentralized manner following the ‘bottom-up’ approach, wherein the local village community plays a key role starting from planning to implementation and from management to operation & maintenance. For this, the State undertakes activities like strengthening the Pani Samiti and developing Village Action Plan as well as approving the same in the Gram Sabha, wherein the community deliberates on water supply schemes to be implemented for them. The programme encourages participation by women in these discussions as they are the primary water managers in any household. Implementing Support Agencies (ISAs) are engaged by the department to create awareness in public about the mission, sensitize them about importance of safe water, engage with the community and extend support to the Panchayati Raj institution for implementation of the programme. Maharashtra has planned to build the capacity of 2.74 lakh stakeholders which includes government officials, ISAs, engineers, village water and sanitation committee, surveillance committee and Panchayat members. Nearly 4.15 lakh people in the State will be trained under skill training programme.
With focus on public health, more than 2,000 water quality testing laboratories in the country have been opened to general public so that they can get their water samples tested whenever they so desire at a nominal cost. Maharashtra has 177 water testing laboratories.
Jal Jeevan Mission announced by the Prime Minister on 15th August 2019, is being implemented in partnership with States. In 2021-22, the budget for Jal Jeevan Mission is Rs 50,011 Crore. With State’s matching share and Rs 26,940 Crore as 15th Finance Commission tied grant for water and sanitation to RLBs/ PRIs, this year more than 1 lakh Crore is likely to be utilized in rural drinking water supply sector. Such huge investment in rural areas will accelerate economic activities.
At the start of the Mission in 2019, out of a total of 19.20 Crore rural households in the country, only 3.23 Crore (17%) had access to tap water. In the last 26 months, despite Covid-19 pandemic and lockdown disruptions, Jal Jeevan Mission is implemented with speed and 5.23 Crore rural households have been provided with piped water connection. Presently, 8.48 Crore (44.12%) rural households across the country have potable water. States of Goa, Telangana, Haryana and UTs of Andaman & Nicobar Islands and Puducherry, Daman & Diu have ensured 100% household tap water connections in rural areas.
Following the Prime Minister’s vision of ‘Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas, Sabka Vishwas, Sabka Prayas’, so that ‘no one is left out’, at present, every household in 82 districts and 1.22 lakh villages are getting tap water in adequate quantity of prescribed quality on regular basis at affordable charges, thereby reducing the drudgery faced by women and children and enhancing ‘ease of living’ of people living in rural areas.