Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s flagship initiative Jal Jeevan Mission has crossed a new milestone. According to the Ministry of Jal Shakti, around 74 percent rural households in the country are now equipped with tap water connections. The Jal Jeevan Mission aims to provide safe and adequate drinking water through individual household tap connections by 2024 to all households in rural India. As of February 10, 2024, the total number of rural households with tap water connections stands at 14,28,58,583 (74.13 percent) which means that more than 3/4th of the rural households are now equipped with tap water connections.
Launched in 2019, the Jal Jeevan Mission is one of the major flagship programs of the Modi government. It aims to provide safe and adequate drinking water through individual household tap connections by 2024 to all households in rural India. The programme also aims to implement source sustainability measures as mandatory elements, such as recharge and reuse through grey water management, water conservation, rain water harvesting. Before 2019, out of the then total 19.25 crore rural households, only 3.23 crore (17 percent) households had access to tap water connection. The remaining 15.70 crore families were dependent on river, well, pond, stand post and spring for their daily water needs. By the end of FY20, only 21.3 percent of rural households had access to a water pipeline. During the next financial year, it increased to 37.99 percent.
Under the JJM, the states and UTs have been advised to undertake testing of water quality on a periodic basis i.e. once in year for chemical and physical parameters, and twice in a year for bacteriological parameters and take remedial action wherever necessary, to ensure that the water supplied to households is of prescribed quality. As of February 10, 2024, there are 2,118 active laboratories for testing the quality of water. Till date around 63,42,790 samples have been tested in these laboratories. Out of the total tested samples, 6,13,928 were found contaminated. Around 23,73,294 women have been trained for testing water samples using the Field Testing Kits (FTK). About 5,19,885 villages have tested water samples using FTKs. Kerala reported the maximum number of contaminated water samples at 2,92,662.
According to the latest figures released by the ministry, 174 districts, 1,793 blocks, 98,529 Gram Panchayat and 2,04,903 villages have been provided with drinking water through taps. Goa, Telangana, Gujarat, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu, Pondicherry and Haryana have already achieved 100 percent household connections. Also, Punjab and Himachal Pradesh have been added to the list of states with 100 percent tap water connections.
Source: Ministry of JalShakti
Mizoram, Arunachal Pradesh, Bihar and the UT of Ladakh have a coverage of more than 90 percent. On the other hand, West Bengal with a coverage of just 41.35 percent followed by Rajasthan (45.69 percent), Jharkhand (48.17 percent) and Kerala (51.95 percent) are the poorest performing states. The southern state of Tamil Nadu has tested the maximum number of samples- 7,50,093 followed by Andhra Pradesh- 5,33,184.
In addition to household connections, the Mission has ensured tap water supply in 9.28 lakh (90.65 percent) schools and 9.57 lakh (86.63 percent) anganwadi centres nationwide. In the 112 aspirational districts, tap water access has surged from 21.41 lakh (7.86 percent) households at the time of launch to 1.96 Crore (74 percent) households today.
Source: Outlay on Major Schemes, Union Budget Documents 2023-24
At the same time, the allocation towards this project has increased over the years. While ₹10,998 crore was allocated in 2020-21, it rose to ₹45,011 crore in 2021-22 and ₹60,000 crore in 2022-23 and it further increased to ₹70,000 crore in 2023-24. But talking about the budget allocation for the Jal Jeevan Mission in the year 2024-25, no major hike has been witnessed as the budget allocation has been increased only from ₹70,000 in 2023-24 to ₹70,163 in 2024-25.
Source: Ministry of Jal Shakti
The Jal Jeevan Mission has come a long way from receiving Rs 10,000.66 crore in 2019-20 to Rs 55,000 crore in 2022-23. The biggest jump in allocation of funds for the scheme by the central government was witnessed in the year 2021-22 as the allocation went up from Rs 11,000 crore in 2020-21 to Rs 45,011 in 2021-22. The data shows that there has been under utilisation of funds by the states for the successful implementation of the scheme. For example, in the financial year 2021-22, Rs 45,011 crore were allocated by the central government for the Jal Jeevan Mission but of these total funds, only Rs 40,009.77 crore were drawn by different states across the country. But the more surprising part here is that out of the withdrawn funds worth Rs 40,009.77 crore only Rs 25,524.36 crore were utilised by the states.
This clearly points out that there is an underutilisation of funds by the states and this is one of the reasons that most of the states are far from attaining the status of ‘Har Ghar Jal.’ If the underutilisation of funds continue, then it is difficult for the central government to achieve its target of providing tap water connections to all the rural households by 2024. The central government and state governments must work together and overcome bureaucratic difficulties and other issues and ensure successful implementation of the scheme, thus keeping up the spirit of cooperative federalism.
Though the Jal Jeevan Mission may not be able to achieve its target of providing tap water connections to all the rural households by the year 2024 but looking at the numbers it can be noted that significant progress has been done under the scheme. As on August 15, 2019, out of the total 19,23,87,377 rural households, only 3,23,62,838 houses (16.82 percent) were equipped with tap water connections.