Union Minister of Jal Shakti, Shri Gajendra Singh Shekhawat has said the Government is making all out efforts to provide safe piped drinking water supply to all households in the country by 2024. Inaugurating the one-day National Conference on “Provision of Potable Drinking Water in Quality-Affected Areas” here today, he said the programme is being implemented in Mission mode as declared by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi in his Independence Day speech from the ramparts of the Red Fort last year.
Shri Shekhawat said nearly 73 years after Independence only 18.33% of rural households i.e., 3.27 crore out of around 18 crore rural households in the country have piped water connection. Globally, India is ranked a lowly 120 in terms of water quality parameters.
Lauding the success of Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM), Shri Shekhawat said reputed International agencies including the WHO have hailed its success. The Department of Drinking Water and Sanitation (DWS) is now working towards ensuring that none is left behind without access to a household toilet, he added.
Shri Shekhawat said studies revealed that huge investments in the SBM programme have resulted in an annual savings of Rs.50,000 per family due to decline in outgoes towards medical expenses. At the same time, Government expenditure on related Health sector has also come down. Besides, there is an indirect impact on the health of crops, milching cattle and poultry.
Shri Shekhawat said it would be a challenge to provide 52,000 habitations with safe drinking water under the JJM programme.
In his address, the Minister of State for Jal Shakti and Social Justice < Empowerment, Shri Rattan Lal Kataria said due to overexploitation and industrial pollution, the ground water has been contaminated with harmful chemicals like Fluoride, Arsenic, Nitrate, Mercury, Lead etc resulting in a public health concern.
Speaking on the occasion, Secretary, DWS, Shri Parameswaran Iyer said Women will be the focus of the Village Water and Sanitation Committees (VWSC) / Paani Samiti that will manage, operate and maintain the Drinking Water Supply at the ground level.
The Operational Guidelines for implementation of the JJM state that half of the members of these Samitis will have to be women. There will be equal representation of elected panchayat members and representatives from SC/ST community for rest 50% of the members in the committee.
The goal of JJM is to provide functional household tap connection to every household with service level at the rate of 55 litres per capita per day (lpcd).
Government of India had restructured and subsumed the National Rural Drinking Water Programme (NRDWP) into JJM to provide Functional Household Tap Connection (FHTC) to every rural household i.e. “Har Ghar Nal Se Jal” by 2024.