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Analysis of Yojana Magazine: Jal Jivan Mission(Har Ghar Jal)

Context

Since August 2019, the Government of India in partnership with the States is implementing Jal Jeevan Mission (JJM) – Har Ghar Jal, to make provision of potable tap water supply to every rural household in the country by 2024.

Background

  • The government has been working to improve the quality of life and enhance the ease of living for people, especially in villages.
  • In line with the Atmanirbhar Bharat Campaign ”Speed, scale, and single-minded focus” have ensured housing for all, electricity to every household, a toilet to every family, smoke-free lives for women, financial inclusion for every family, social security, and affordable health care for all.

What is Jal Jeevan Mission?

  • Announced in 2019, Jal Jeevan Mission (JIM) is a huge step in improving the quality of life in villages and improving public health. JIM is under implementation in partnership with all the States to make provision of tap water supply to every rural household of the country.
  • It is envisaged that by 2024, each household will have a potable tap-water supply in adequate quantity (55 lpcd) of prescribed quality (BIS: 10,500) on a regular and long-term basis.
  • To implement this mission, institutional arrangements at various levels have been made.

What is the Atmanirbhar Bharat initiative?

  • Atmanirbhar Bharat initiative was announced to reboot the economy with a long-term goal, to structurally reform the system, and simultaneously empower the economic agents to perform better, and to remove structural inefficiencies that restrict the efficient functioning of the business.
  • The five key pillars of the Atmanirbhar Bharat, namely, economy, infrastructure, system, democracy, and demand are to strengthen the domestic industry as well as to make the Indian economy more closely integrated with the global value chain.
  • At a deeper level, it strengthens the economy by policy interventions in unorganised sectors and MSMEs as well as strengthens democracy by making communities capable, ensuring their partnership in socio-economic reforms, and transforming the village community into a responsive and responsible leader.
  • This implements Gram Swaraj in hundreds of thousands of villages across India in its true sense.

How does the JJM ensure Gram Swaraj?

  • Following the principles of Gandhiji’s ‘Gram Swaraj’, under Jal Jeevan Mission, local village community/ Gram Panchayats or sub-committee i.e. Village Water & Sanitation Committee/ Paani Samiti/ user groups having 10 – 15 members with 50% women are to be involved in planning, implementation, management, operation and maintenance of water supply systems to ensure long-term sustainability to achieve drinking water security.
  • This is what was envisaged in the 73rd Amendment to the Constitution. The local community will not be at the mercy of any other outside agency.

How does the JJM giving Power to Gram Panchayats?

  • Collective Ownership and Action Jal Jeevan Mission is pivoted on the 73rd Amendment of the Constitution that empowers Gram Panchayats with administrative control of water and related subjects.
  • JJM is a decentralised, demand-driven, and community-managed water supply programme.
  • Gram Panchayat (GP) or its sub-committees (VWSCs) and Pani Samiti across States and Union Territories play a key role in planning, implementation, management, operation, and regular maintenance of in-village water supply systems.
  • It also plans and implements water source augmentation! strengthening water conservation, and greywater treatment, and reuse of treated greywater.
  • For this purpose, programmes for capacity building of GPNWSC members are organised so that it can work as a local water utility for assured service delivery on a long term and regular basis.

Local village communities are contributing towards in-village water infrastructure and have a sense of ownership and pride.
the role of Gram Sabha in universal access of water, its conservation, and sustainable use in making villages atmanirbhar or self-reliant for their water needs.

How the JJM Works?

  • The motto of the mission is that ‘no one is left out’ and every household in a village should be provided with tap water connection.
  • In villages where ground/surface water of good quality is available in sufficient quantity, Single Village Schemes (SVS) are planned and executed as the most preferred option.
  • In villages with adequate groundwater having quality issues, water is treated before its supply to every home and it is done in isolated tribal hamlets/hilly/forested areas, Stand-alone solar-based and/or gravity-based water supply systems are being given priority.
  • In water-stressed areas, bulk water transfer, treatment plants, and distribution systems are planned and executed.
  • The Mission is providing tap water supply in quality-affected areas, especially in Arsenic & Fluoride affected habitations, Japanese Encephalitis, Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (JEI AES) affected districts, socio-economically backward Aspirational districts, drought-prone & desert areas, Sansad Adarsh Gram Yojana (SAGY) villages, and SC/ST majority villages on priority. For example, on 15 August 2019, at the announcement of JJM, only 8 lakh (2.6%) households in JE-AES affected districts were having tap water connections.
  • In the last 26 months, despite the Covid-19 pandemic and lockdowns, tap water connections have been provided to 1.17 crore (38.5%) more households. Only 24 lakh (7.2%) households in Aspirational districts were having tap water connections before JJM, whereas more than 1.22 crore (36.9%) households are getting tap water supply now.
  • For Boosting Rural Economy Village Water and Sanitation Committee (VWSC) prepares a 5-year Village Action Plan for water and sanitation, ensuring long-term source sustainability, greywater management, and water conservation works.
  • These Village Action Plans (VAPs) are co-terminus with the 15th Financial Commission period. It has provided for 60% of its total grant to local rural bodies/PRls as a tied grant for water and sanitation alone.
    Thus, an assured Rs 1.42 lakh crore tied grant is available from 2021-22 to 2025-26 for i) drinking water source augmentation/strengthening, ii) drinking water supply system, iii) greywater treatment and its reuse, iv) regular operation and maintenance of in-village water supply infrastructure, and v) maintaining ODF status of the village.
  • Further, there is a provision that the VAPs to be implemented by dovetailing resources, viz. Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS), Swachh Bharat Mission-Gramin, JJM, District Mineral Development Fund (DMDF), Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) funds, and community contribution, etc. Village Action Plans for about 3 lakh villages have been prepared by the VWSCs.
  • The total outlay of the Jal Jeevan Mission is Rs 3.60 lakh crore, out of which Rs 2.08 lakh crore is the Central share. Thus, a total amount of more than Rs 5 lakh crore is available for water-related works.

How does JJM ensure Women Empowerment?

  • Another benefit of the JJM will be that the rural women, who suffer the drudgery of having to travel long distances to bring water home will be saved from the ordeal.
  • Following this vision, it has been mandated that a minimum of 50% of the VWSC members would be women.
  • This accords them a significant role in village water governance suiting their traditional role as water managers.
  • At the announcement of the Jal Jeevan Mission in 2019, only 3.23 crore (17.7%) households had tap water connections.
    Since then, 5.22 crore more rural households have been provided with tap water connections, thus alleviating rural women of their drudgery in fetching water and Village Water and Sanitation bringing them ease of living.
  • While ease of living is envisaged to give rural women an opportunity in self-reliance or atmanirbharta, and leverage their experience as village water managers in VWSCs, women are also given the role of custodian of water quality in their villages.
    Under the Mission, each village will have a cadre of 5 trained women formed to monitor the tap water quality provided in homes.

How is Jal Jeevan Mission an ideal model for Atmanirbhar Bharat?

  • When we look at the Jal Jeevan Mission objectives, its elements both in terms of vision and policy steps, along with sectoral reforms and community empowerment, we find it as an ideal model for Atmanirbhar Bharat.
  • Jal Jeevan Mission is about the capacity building of the community in achieving water security. As water influences the quality of life like none other.
  • Water truly anchors a village’s peace and prosperity. Its inaccessibility has cost millions of women and girls their educational opportunity, its paucity or inaccessibility has forced millions to migrate, abandoning their homes.
  • So, ensuring that every home has potable tap water supply in an adequate quantity of prescribed quality on a regular and long-term basis, is the cornerstone of Atmanirbhar Bharat.

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