Jal Shakti minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat
File image of Jal Shakti minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat. Image credit: Hindustan Times

Jal Shakti minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat wrote to Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister of Arunachal Pradesh for expeditious implementation of Jal Jeevan Mission in the state.

The Jal Jeevan Mission is a flagship programme of the Prime Minister Narendra Modi, which aims to improve the lives of rural people by providing safe drinking water to every rural household through household tap connections (FHTCs) by 2024.

This approach of decentralized, demand-driven, community-managed water supply schemes at village/ habitation level is perceived as a major reform in the drinking water sector in India.

Being implemented in partnership with states, the mission aims to enable every rural household has assured availability of potable water at a service level of 55 litres per capita per day (lpcd) on a regular and long-term basis so as to bring improvements in lives of rural folks.

Arunachal Pradesh plans to provide 100 per cent tap connections to all the households of the state by March 2023.

The Centre has allocated Rs 255 Crore for the state under Jal Jeevan Mission in 2020-21.

The state will be given additional funds in the form of performance grants based on their achievement in terms of tangible outputs i.e. the household tap connections and commensurate financial progress.

Out of 2.18 lakh total rural households, 37,000 households have been already provided with tap connections.

The state is planning to provide 77,000 tap connections in 2020-21.

While planning, thrust is given on covering households in the aspirational district, quality-affected habitations, Sansad Adarsh Gramin Yojana villages, etc. on priority.

Shekhawat urged Khandu to focus on retrofitting and augmentation of piped water supply schemes already existing in the villages/ habitations, so that remaining household could be provided with tap connections easily in the least possible time, that’s why it has been stressed that this work should start in ‘campaign mode’.

During the COVID–19 pandemic, it’s the endeavour of Government that people don’t crowd public stand posts/ drinking water sources.

The union minister requested for taking up water supply works in villages on an immediate basis to provide household tap connections, which will help in practising social distancing and will additionally help local people in getting employment and boost the rural economy.

Being a decentralized programme, the local community will play a pivotal role in planning, implementation, management, operation and maintenance of water supply systems in villages to ensure long-term sustainability. Local communities are encouraged to take responsibility for water supply systems in villages for regular upkeep and operation and maintenance.

In all villages, IEC campaign along with community mobilization needs to be taken up to make Jal Jeevan Mission truly a people’s movement.

Skilling activities are planned so that unemployed youth could be trained in plumbing, masonry, fitting, pump operation, etc. so that a pool of trained human resources could be available at village level and engaged locally, which will help in long-term operation and maintenance of schemes without depending on outside agencies.

Stressing on the need for strengthening of existing drinking water sources for the long-term sustainability of drinking water supply systems, the union minister asked for convergence of various programmes like MGNREGS, SBM (G), 15th FC Grants to PRIs, District Mineral Development Fund, CAMPA, Local Area Development Fund, etc. at village level for judicious use of all available funds.

The state will get Rs 231 Crore under 15th Finance Commission Grants to PRIs during 2020-21; 50 per cent of this amount has to be mandatory to be spent on water and sanitation.

Under Jal Jeevan Mission, water quality testing laboratories at district & state levels are given priority. Community is being involved for surveillance of water quality.

Provision has been made to empower and engage with the community, for which various activities are planned like timely procurement of kits, the supply of kits to the community, identification of at least five women in every village, training 5 persons especially women for use of Field Test Kits, so that water can be tested locally.

The minister assured the Arunachal Pradesh CM of his full support to make the State a ‘100 per cent FHTCs’ State i.e. ‘Har Ghar Jal’ State and intends to discuss the planning and implementation of Jal Jeevan Mission with the CM through video conferencing soon.

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