In what can be seen as a massive push towards ensuring adequate water supply to all citizens of the country, the Modi government is likely set a threshold limit of promised household water supply and also bring in a fixed dedicated fund for the ambitious plan aimed at ensuring supply of piped water to every rural household by 2024.
The government is moving ahead in this direction in a manner similar to the Swachh Bharat Kosh (SBK) that had been set up for the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan. The SBK had been set up with the intention of channeling Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) funds towards the massive sanitation drive that had been promoted by the Modi government in a big way.
As per Hindustan Times, the officials are giving final touches to the modalities of “Nal Se Jal” (water from taps), that involves providing potable water to households. This scheme would be put before the cabinet for its approval. The proposals are said to include assured water supply within the range of 43-55 litres per day. The lower level has been provided for lean periods. Therefore, the range will vay according to the season.
According to the NGO, WaterAid, supply of piped drinking water to rural households is critical for achieving the goal of universal access to safe drinking water in India. It must be noted that as of 2015, 16.3 crore people in India lacked access to clean water. It is the highest in any country and it is in this context that the Modi government’s efforts should be seen and appreciated.
The most striking feature is the promise of at least 55 litres of water supply under normal conditions within the household premises or at a distance of less than 100 metres. The Modi govenrment is going to use a major protion of the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) budget towards the Jal Jeevan Mission. The Mission also seeks to alleviate 254 districts in the country which are battling acute water shortage crisis. As per a senior rural ministry official, “The water conservation projects funded and undertaken in MGNREGS will provide the base for the Nal Se Jal scheme.” According to another official, the Jal Shakti ministry aims to provide piped drinking water to 19.5% of rural households during 2019-20 under the Jal Jeevan Mission.
It is remarkable how the Modi government is addressing concerns which touch the lives of ordinary citizens at a very close and personal level. The Modi government started off with the Swachh Bharat Mission which brought about a transformation in the life of the ordinary citizens and now the Jal Jeevan Mission is expected to bring about far-reaching improvement in the lives of ordinary citizens, especially those living in water-stressed conditions.