India: Bihar State has presented its Jal Jeevan Mission Annual Action Plan before the Ministry of Jal Shakti for consideration and approval, wherein it is planned to have 100% coverage of all households with functional tap water connections by 2020-21. Bihar state government has set an ambitious goal of providing all the remaining households with tap connection. It’s a huge target, but the State Government is all set with the roadmap to achieve the target. A proper plan is in place for 100% coverage of all 38 districts during 2020-21. Bihar Government is also giving special attention to providing 100% of Functional Household Tap Connections (FHTCs) in Aspirational districts, quality-affected habitations, and SC/ST villages. Because of the abundance of groundwater and surface water in Bihar, the State is making all efforts in this regard.
The state is planning to provide tap connections to the remaining 1.50 Crore households in 2020-21. The government of India has allocated Rs. 1832.66 Crore for this during 2020-21.
During the scorching summer and COVID-19 pandemic, the importance of clean water takes precedence. Washing hands and maintaining good hygiene needs clean water. Mostly the rural population depends on stand posts or wells for water, thus making it difficult for the masses to observe social-distancing. The relevance of potable water in one’s household premise is a one-stop solution for the given problem. During this testing time of COVID-19 pandemic, such an attempt to provide household tap connections in rural areas will surely improve the ease of living especially the women and girls reducing their drudgery and making them safe and leading a dignified life.
Though there has been a considerable improvement in the water situation as compared to the past many years, a long road is yet to be covered. Besides, enabling every household with tap connection, Bihar has to give equal thrust on water conservation, rainwater harvesting, grey-water management & tackling over-extraction of groundwater.
Jal Jeevan Mission (JJM) has been launched in partnership with States, to enable every household in villages to have an FHTC within the premises by 2024. It has been envisaged that each household will have a potable water supply of 55 LPED of prescribed quality on a regular and long-term basis. it’s the endeavor of the Government to bring improvement in the lives of rural people by making provision of assured services at their doorsteps.
To implement the mission, institutional arrangements at various levels have been made and State’s PHE/ Rural Water Supply Departments are to play a critical role along with the local community. Gram Panchayat/ village water sanitation committee/ user committees are encouraged to plan, implement, manage, operate, and maintain its in-village water supply scheme. A sense of ownership has to be instilled in the village community as they are at the center of this mission. The community is also expected to play a big role in water quality surveillance.
Rural women and adolescent girls spend a lot of time and energy in getting water for day-to-day use. This results in a lack of participation of women in income generation opportunities, loss of school days for girls, and adverse health impacts. JJM is to play a significant role in bringing ‘ease of living’ for the rural community, especially women. Women must lead JJM in their villages to meet their needs and aspirations.
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