In a country like India, access to clean and potable water is not just a basic necessity but a fundamental right. Recognizing this, the Indian government launched the Jal Jeevan Mission scheme in 2019, with the aim of providing piped water supply to all rural households by 2024.
This ambitious mission has the potential to bridge the gap between urban and rural areas, empower communities, and improve the quality of life for millions of people.
The Need for Jal Jeevan Mission Scheme
India, despite being home to 17% of the global population, has only 4% of the world's freshwater resources. Water scarcity is a pressing issue in many parts of the country, with millions of people facing high to extreme water stress. Inadequate management, lack of technology, and contamination further exacerbate India's water security challenges. The Jal Jeevan Mission seeks to address these issues by treating water as a valuable resource and ensuring its availability to every household.
The Design and Structure of the Mission
The Jal Jeevan Mission is a comprehensive program that focuses on providing tap water connections to rural households. It aims to improve the ease of living and enhance the overall well-being of rural communities. The mission involves the development of water supply infrastructure, community participation, water quality monitoring, and adherence to prescribed standards.
The key objective of the mission is to achieve universal coverage, ensuring that every rural household has access to a functional tap water connection.
Socioeconomic Benefits of the Mission
The Jal Jeevan Mission is not just about providing water connections; it has far-reaching socioeconomic benefits. Access to clean and reliable water has a positive impact on health, productivity, and overall quality of life. It reduces the burden on women who often have to travel long distances to fetch water, improving their safety and allowing them to utilize their time for more productive activities.
Economically, the mission is expected to generate significant savings. A study suggests that the mission could save close to $101 billion. Moreover, the time saved in collecting water, estimated to be around 66.6 million hours per day, can be utilized for income generation and skill development
Progress and Challenges
Since the launch of the Jal Jeevan Mission, significant progress has been made in increasing water coverage in rural areas. As of now, over 11 crore rural households have functional tap connections, marking a substantial milestone. The mission faces the task of bridging the gap between the current coverage levels and the target of 100% coverage. States like Himachal Pradesh and Bihar have made substantial progress, nearing saturation.
Transforming Communities through Participation
One of the key aspects of the Jal Jeevan Mission is community participation. Women play a crucial role in water management, and their active involvement is encouraged from the initial stages of the mission. Participatory planning processes, such as the Community Leave No One Behind (CLNOB) approach, have been implemented to promote behavior change and empower communities.
Under the CLNOB approach, communities come together to understand the current water status, identify challenges, and find solutions. Women are trained to conduct water quality tests and actively participate in Village Water & Sanitation Committees (VWSC).
Leveraging Technology and Innovation
The Jal Jeevan Mission recognizes the importance of leveraging technology and innovation to achieve its goals. The mission has partnered with state governments and sector partners to implement sensor-based water supply systems in pilot villages. These systems facilitate real-time monitoring, ensuring the availability of quality water. Technologies like solar water pumping system are used for the benefits.
Additionally, the mission has launched an Information and Communication Technology (ICT) contest to encourage the development of innovative solutions for measuring and monitoring water supply at the village level.
Ensuring Sustainability and Maintenance
To ensure the long-term sustainability of water supply, the Jal Jeevan Mission emphasizes the need for robust operation and maintenance systems. This includes the development of operational guidelines, capacity building of local bodies, and the establishment of mechanisms for regular maintenance and repairs. Community involvement in the operation and maintenance of water supply systems is crucial for their sustainability and long-term success. Solar agricultural water pumping system managed to bridge the gap between traditional system and modern solutions for water scarcity under this scheme.
The Way Forward
The Jal Jeevan Mission has made significant strides in improving access to water in rural areas. However, there is still work to be done to achieve the target of 100% coverage by 2024. The mission needs to focus on addressing remaining gaps, ensuring water quality, and strengthening community participation.
To achieve its goals, the mission requires continued support, coordination, and collaboration among all stakeholders, including the government, local bodies, communities, and sector partners.
The Jal Jeevan Mission scheme is a transformative initiative that aims to provide access to clean and piped drinking water to every rural household in India. It has the potential to improve the quality of life, empower communities, and drive socioeconomic development.
It has the potential to improve the quality of life, empower communities, and drive socioeconomic development.