New Delhi, May 25: With the focus on faster development of North Eastern (NE) States, Government of India released Rs. 1,605 Crore to 8 North Eastern States for the implementation of Jal Jeevan Mission to provide tap water supply to rural homes in the financial year 2021-22. This is the first tranche of the four to be released in this financial year. This kind of huge funding for making provision of piped drinking water supply in rural homes clearly indicates the priority of the Union Government in improving the lives of people living in rural areas.
Union Government led by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has been giving top priority for the development of North-Eastern region of the country. The commitment of the Prime Minister to realize the full potential of the North-East and to accelerate its development is well known. During financial year 2021-22, Rs. 9,262 Crore has been allocated as Central grant for NE States under Jal Jeevan Mission. The enhanced allocation as well as release of funds at this challenging time to provide tap water connections to rural homes in NE States, will boost the economy of the region.
Out of the Central fund allocated under Jal Jeevan Mission, 93% of the fund is to be utilized on developing water supply infrastructure, 5% on support activities and 2% on water quality monitoring & surveillance activities. The Central funds are released by Government of India based on the output in terms of tap water connections to be provided in the States/ UTs and the utilization of available Central and matching State share.
The States have to transfer Central fund released along with matching State share to the single Nodal Account within 15-days of release of Central fund. The States have to make provision for matching State share and ensure that there is no shortage of funds to the implementing agencies. Proper expenditure plan prepared so that expenditure is evenly spread throughout the year.
There are about 90 lakh rural households in all the NE States, with maximum 63.35 lakh in Assam. In 2020-21, about 11 lakh new tap water connections provided in all these States. As on today, 16.27 lakh households (18%) in the region are getting tap water supply in these States in comparison to 3.2 lakh (3%) households on 15 August, 2019, when Prime Minister announced the Jal Jeevan Mission.
As top priority being accorded by the Government, the budgetary allocation for Jal Jeevan Mission has increased significantly to Rs. 50,011 Crore in 2021-22. In addition to this, 15th Finance Commission tied-grants of Rs. 26,940 Crore will be also available to PRIs for ‘water and sanitation’ services. Further, fund is also available through matching State share and externally aided projects. Thus, in 2021-22, more than Rs. 1 lakh Crore is planned to be invested in the country on ensuring tap water supply to rural homes.
It is expected that this kind of investment is likely to continue over the next three years to achieve the goal of ‘Har Ghar Jal’. This huge investment in rural areas of the country will not only boost local economic activities, thereby lifting the rural economy, it will also provide meaningful employment opportunities to local people.
Announced by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi on 15th August, 2019, with the aim to provide assured tap water supply to every rural home by 2024, Jal Jeevan Mission is being implemented in partnership with States/ UTs. Despite challenges faced due to COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdowns, over 4.20 Crore (21.87%) households have been provided with tap water supply. Now, 7.44 Crore (39%) rural households are getting potable water through taps. Goa, Telangana, Andaman & Nicobar Islands and Puducherry have become ‘Har Ghar Jal’ State/ UT. Further, following the principle of equity and inclusiveness i.e. ‘no one in the village is left out’, under Jal Jeevan Mission assured tap water supply made to every rural family living in 61 districts and over 90 thousand villages. States/ UTs are now focusing on the target to ensure that every household in the country gets safe drinking water, so that ‘no one in the village is left out’.
After announcement of Union Budget for 2021-22, Union Minister of Jal Shakti chaired a conference of Ministers in-charge of Rural Water Supply/ PHED of all States/ UTs to discuss the planning and implementation of Jal Jeevan Mission. The financial year 2021-22 began with a rigorous joint review exercise to finalize the Annual Action Plans (AAPs) starting from 9th April. This third year is very critical for JJM requiring intensive planning, assessing capacity of States/ UTs to execute the works based on last two year’s progress, institutional preparedness, etc.