New Delhi: The Centre’s Jal Jeevan Mission (JJM) is the commitment of Prime Minister Modi and his government to un-burdening the lives of women, especially in rural areas, said Union Minister for Women and Child Development Smriti Irani on Monday.
“This shift in policy focus (since the election of the Modi in 2014) was to reduce the drudgery faced specially by women and girls, and improve their quality of life by providing them services targeted for their convenience,” she wrote in a column for the Indian Express.
Women, the “unsung heroes,” have witnessed an “exponential increase in their water woes in the past few decades,” she reminded. The National Commission for Women estimates that, on an average, a rural woman in Rajasthan walks over 2.5 km to reach a water source.
Under the JJM, all households in the country shall be provided piped water supply by 2024. It will connect individual households to “appropriate and adequate” water supply. As per the Union Minister, only 18 per cent of rural households currently enjoy this privilege.
Irani added that the operational guidelines for the JJM include a step-by-step approach to un-burden women. First, “institutional integration” shall be carried out from Centre to grass roots level. Then, schemes will be designed with “local flexibility to allow for effective adaptivity to local situations.” Third, source sustainability will be upheld as a guiding principle in all schemes to “reuse and recycle water.”
“And four, these efforts must take form of a jan andolan for water to ensure the overall water security of our great nation,” she said.
The Women and Child Development minister hopes that these efforts will “provide a massive fillip to the ease of living for women and they will no longer be beasts of burden.”