Prime minister unveils guidelines for rural water supply scheme

Prime Minister Narendra Modi released the guidelines for the Jal Jeevan Mission
Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the launch of the Atal Bhujal Yojana in New Delhi on Wednesday.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday released the guidelines for the implementation of Jal Jeevan Mission, a central government scheme to provide piped water connection to every rural household by 2024. More than 81% of the 17.87 crore rural households in India do not have household water connections. The Union government will spend more than Rs 2 lakh crore of the Rs 3.6 lakh crore funds needed to implement the scheme. The Centre will share 90% of the total expenses in Himalayan and northeastern states and 50% in other states. A meeting of the Union cabinet in August had approved the Jal Jeevan Mission.

Defence minister Rajnath Singh, Jal Shakti minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, minister of state for Jal Shakti Rattan Lal Kataria, senior government officials, representatives of UN agencies, NGOs/ trusts, and various stakeholders attended the function organised at Vigyan Bhawan in New Delhi.

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Five regional workshops were organized by the ministry of Jal Shakti for stakeholders such as state governments, voluntary organizations, development partners and water sector professionals. The ministry reviewed questions raised by members of Parliament to understand issues in different parts of the country while formulating guidelines and strategy for implementation. Reports of the parliamentary committees and audit reports were studied in detail to understand the shortcomings of earlier schemes. The ministry held consultations also with the other ministries and departments of the central government.

Highlights of the guidelines

Schemes under the National Rural Drinking Water Programme will be completed on time by providing water connection to all rural households. Priority will be given to areas with low water quality.

National Jal Jeevan Mission, state water and sanitation mission, district water and sanitation mission and village-level committees will work in tandem for the implementation of JJM. JJM will be offered extra budgetary resources along with budgetary support as per allocation criteria. Well-performing states will be given incentives at the end of the financial year.

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The central funds to state governments will be deposited in one single nodal account along with state’s share within 15 days of the release of central funds. The progress of the mission will be monitored through IMIS and fund utilisation through PFMS. No expenditure towards O&M cost cannot be taken from the central share.

Gram panchayats will play a crucial role in planning, designing, executing and maintaining village infrastructure. Gram Panchayat, its sub-committees and support agencies will be identified and empaneled by the state government.

Water quality monitoring will be an important component under JJM. Setting up and maintenance of water quality testing labs will be taken up to ensure that the water supplied is of prescribed quality.