India: Through ‘Jal Jeevan Mission’, Government of India is making all efforts to provide every rural household in the country a Functional Household Tap Connection for water in an adequate quantity of prescribed quality on a regular and long-term basis. Following the true spirit of cooperative federalism, the state governments are steering this flagship program to realize the objectives of the mission so as to bring cheers in the lives of rural people by providing potable water at their doorstep and ensure ‘ease of living’. It is envisaged that through this life-changing mission, each household will get a potable water supply of 55 LPCD of prescribed quality on a regular and long-term basis.
The estimated outlay of the mission is Rs 3.60 lakh crore with central and state share of Rs. 2.08 lakh crore and Rs.1.52 lakh crore respectively.
Odisha state presented their Annual Action Plan before the National Committee headed by Secretary, Drinking Water & Sanitation, Ministry of Jal Shakti for consideration and approval for 2020-21. Govt of India approved Rs 812 Crores for implementation of the Mission in the State for the financial year. This allocation is a significant jump from last year’s allocation of Rs 297 Crore. Out of 81 lakh rural households in the State, Govt of Odisha plans to provide 16.21 lakh household connections in 2020-21. The State is planning 100% household tap connections by the year 2024. Priority is being given for 100% coverage of villages underwater scare areas, quality-affected areas, Sansad Adarsh Gram Yojna villages, villages in aspirational districts and SC/ ST dominated habitations.
Laying emphasis on capitalizing on ‘low-hanging fruits’ i.e. in the villages/ habitations where piped water supply schemes already exist, State is making all-out efforts to immediately provide household tap connections to remaining households belonging to weaker and marginalized sections on priority. A roadmap is prepared for the effective implementation of the Village Action Plan (VAP) with the active participation of the rural community. Strengthening of existing drinking water sources for the long-term sustainability of drinking water supply systems through the convergence of various programs like MGNREGS, SBM (G), 15th FC Grants to PRIs, District Mineral Development Fund, CAMPA, Local Area Development Fund, etc. at village level is planned for judicious use of all available resources. The State has been allocated Rs. 2,258 Crore under 15th Finance Commission Grants to PRIs during 2020-21; 50% of this amount has to be mandatorily spent on water and sanitation.
To implement the mission, institutional arrangements at various levels have been made and State’s PHE Department is to play a critical role. To instill a sense of ownership among the village community, Mission strives to involve the community in planning, managing, implementing, operation, and maintaining the water supply schemes meant for them for long-term sustainability. State Government will start engaging the Self Help Groups and voluntary organizations for community mobilization.
Jal Jeevan Mission encourages the participation of the local community in surveillance of water quality. For this, an action plan carried out to incorporate the timely procurement of kits, the supply of kits to the community, identification of at least five women in every village, training women for use of Field Test Kits, and reporting and collating the reports with laboratory-based findings of the water sources. The state also proposed taking NABL accreditation for 18 of its water testing labs. At present, it has one state-level lab and 32 district level labs.
Odisha state reels under two extreme conditions of water scarcity and also excess of it. There is one part which is water-stressed for most of the year, while the other part is marooned in monsoon. With the mercury soaring above 40 degrees Celsius, and during the prevailing COVID-19 pandemic, it is important that people don’t crowd public stand posts/ drinking water sources to fetch drinking water. Therefore, the state was advised for taking up water supply works in villages to provide household tap connections, which will help in practicing social distancing, and will additionally help local people in getting employment and boost the rural economy.
In the present context, when a lot of migrants are returning to the State, it has become very important to provide a livelihood to them. This personnel could be utilized in water supply related works especially plumbing, fitting, water conservation works, etc. in every village to ensure sufficient groundwater availability leading to water security, water availability for agriculture and most importantly will help in the provision of drinking water to every rural household as per the objective of Jal Jeevan Mission.
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