The vision statement of the Centre’s flagship Jal Jeevan Mission states that ‘Every rural household has drinking water supply inadequate quantity of prescribed quality on a regular and long-term basis at affordable service delivery charges leading to improvement in living standards of rural communities. The vision statement of this ambitious plan, launched in August 2019, promises to improve the living standard of rural communities.
Access to safe water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) services would improve the living conditions by augmenting health, life expectancy, education, gender parity and employment opportunities. Access to clean water will bring socio-economic transformation for rural folks, especially for women. Employing a community approach, the Jal Jeevan Mission looks to create a Jan Andolan (public movement) for water, thereby making it everyone’s priority. It is envisioned to provide safe and adequate drinking water through individual household tap connections by 2024 to all households in rural India.
According to the latest government data, over 8.58 crore of the total 19.22 crore rural households have been provided with tap water connections. Since the launch of the programme on August 15, 2019, over 5 crore households have received tap water connections increasing the coverage from a mere 16.83% to 45% among all rural households till date.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has likened it to a decentralisation movement that is village and women-driven. The ambitious Rs 50 thousand crore programme was launched with an aim to improve the quality of life and ease of living of people in rural areas by providing tap water connections to every household by 2024. The Jal Jeevan Mission has not only provided access to potable water to a major part of the rural population but it’s bringing a much needed socio-economic transformation.
Jal Jeevan Mission is changing the lives of women in rural areas who travel long distances to fetch drinking water. Now with access to drinking water at home, they are devoting more time for the education of children and productive work.
According to the Jal Shakti Ministry, the women are also being groomed as the plumbers, electricians and pump operators under the JJM scheme to maintain the water supply systems and pump houses in the villages. It is mandated that women would have 50% representation in the Village Water and Sanitation Committee under the scheme. At least five women in every village are leading community-led water quality surveillance after due training.
Pani Samitis have been formed in around 3.5 lakh villages across the country and more than 7.1 lakh women have been trained to test the water quality by using field test kits, according to the JJM data.
In several states like Madhya Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Jharkhand and Rajasthan among others women are successfully managing and maintaining drinking water supplies in villages. These new roles of women have increased the gender parity and with more time to devote for economic activities women are backing the men of the household.
Beyond access to clean drinking water, the JJM programme has improved health outcomes, increased productivity and contributed to social as well as economic transformations in rural areas. Change is already visible in many states and the government has launched the second phase of the scheme to provide tap water connection to 28.6 million urban households under 4378 Urban Local Bodies (ULBs).
Mission Paani, an initiative by News 18 and Harpic India, aims to spread awareness regarding water conservation, safe sanitation and hygiene. The campaign also tries to amplify all efforts for ensuring water, sanitation and hygiene for all in India.
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