New Delhi: As of the latest update on Thursday, the Jal Jeevan Mission, the central government’s flagship initiative for providing drinking water, has successfully extended functional water tap connections to 128.5 million rural households, which accounts for approximately 66.80% of the total rural households in India. This substantial progress marks a significant improvement from the baseline survey conducted in 2019 when only 32.3 million households, or less than 17%, had access to tap connections at the mission’s outset.
The primary objective of the Jal Jeevan Mission is to ensure that each of the 194.2 million rural households in India gains access to tap water connections by the culmination of 2024. Under this mission, every individual in a household is provided with a daily allocation of 55 liters of clean water.
Alarming statistics highlight the magnitude of water stress experienced by approximately 820 million individuals residing in the 12 major river basins across the nation, categorized as facing “high to extreme” water stress by the NGO Water Aid. The challenge of accessing water sources significantly burdens rural populations. According to the National Sample Survey Organisation, women in Jharkhand travel 40 minutes one way (excluding wait times) to access water, while the figures stand at 33 minutes in Bihar, 24 minutes in rural Maharashtra, and 38 minutes in Uttar Pradesh.
In 2019, Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the Jal Jeevan Mission, aiming to alleviate this arduous task for rural residents. Moving forward, the mission’s focal points will revolve around expediting water infrastructure development in states that lag behind, addressing aspirational districts characterized by below-average socio-economic indicators, and exploring international collaborations for technological innovations within the water sector, as conveyed by an anonymous official.
On July 31, Prahlad Singh Patel, the Union Minister of State for Jal Shakti, informed the Rajya Sabha that up until July 26, 2023, nearly 55% of rural households belonging to Scheduled Tribes have been successfully connected to tap water under the mission.
The Jal Jeevan Mission stands out as one of the nation’s most extensive infrastructure projects, centered on establishing end-to-end water tap connections for households. The financial sharing framework for this program varies: 100% for Union Territories without a legislature, 90:10 for northeastern states and Union Territories with a legislature, and 50:50 for all other states, ensuring a collaborative approach between the central government and state administrations.