Jal Jeevan Mission to add 11.5 million household tap connections by FY21

Jal Jeevan Mission, the government’s latest flagship scheme, has set out a target to add 11.5 million household tap connections by 2020-21 (FY21), according to papers laid under Budget documents. 

The total allocation for the programme for FY21 is Rs 11,500 crore, up from Rs 10,000 crore last year. 

According to the government data, 1.46 million of the 178.7 million rural households in the country are yet to have functional household tap connections. The government has proposed Rs 3.6 trillion for the programme to be executed by 2024. Of the total estimated expenditure, the share of Centre will be Rs 2.08 trillion.

The department of drinking water and sanitation under the Jal Shakti Ministry is likely to go for low hanging fruits first to expedite the target. This would mean projects that are close to completion but remain unfinished could be taken up on priority.

The mission is modeled on a “utility-based approach”, enabling institutions to focus on services and recover a water tariff or user fee. No expenditure towards operation and maintenance cost of the schemes such as electricity charges, salary of regular staff, and purchase of land will be allowed out of Central share.

The Budget has enumerated social, economic, and health benefits of providing tap connections to households, which will be used as indicators to measure the outcome at the end of the year. As of now, the targets for these parameters have been kept at zero. 

Through the mission, the government is aiming to reduce the number of acute diarrheal diseases, relieve women from the drudgery of carrying water from distant sources, and lessen the number of girl drop-outs from upper primary schools. 

The scheme is also expected to generate through construction as well operation and maintenance activity undertaken for piped water supply. 

Besides, the government may identify areas with adequate ground water supply and prioritise piped water connections in such places, towards the start of implementation. 

The Budget has allocated Rs 200 crore for the Atal Bhujal Yojana — the Centre’s groundwater scheme inaugurated recently. Last year, the allocation for the scheme was Rs 1 crore. 

“Token provision towards proposed Atal Bhujal Yojana to implement project for improving and incentivising ground water management,” the Budget document stated. 

Additionally, there has been a marginal increase of Rs 30 crore for the Har Khet Ko Pani scheme, which has received Rs 1,050 crore for FY21. The idea behind the scheme is to push projects for repair, renovation and restoration of water bodies, surface and ground water irrigation.

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