The Union Minister of Jal Shakti, Shri Gajendra Singh Shekhawat has written a letter to Chief Minister of Nagaland expressing his concerns over the tardy progress of Jal Jeevan Mission in the State. Last year, the Mission was launched by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, which aims to improve the lives of rural people by providing safe drinking water to every rural household through household tap connections (FHTCs) by 2024. The decentralized, demand-driven, community-managed water supply schemes at village/ habitation level is perceived as a transformational programme in drinking water sector.
In his letter, Shri Shekhawat mentioned about the commitment of Union Government towards development of North East India. For Jal Jeevan Mission, funds are provided by Government of India based on the output in terms of household tap connections provided and the utilization of available funds. Against the target of providing tap connections to 75,000 households in the year 2019-20, only 2,000 tap connections were covered. Further, Nagaland was allocated Rs 56.49 Crore in 2019-20, out of which the State could only spend Rs 23.54 Crore. Informing the CM that the allocation for Nagaland has been increased from Rs. 56.49 Crore to Rs. 114.09 Crore in 2020-21 and with an opening balance of Rs. 32.95 Crore, Nagaland has an assured availability of Rs. 147.04 Crore of Central funds for JJM. With matching State share, the State will have Rs 163 Crore during 2020-21 for implementation of JJM. The Jal Shakti Minister stressed that providing potable water to every rural household is a national priority and the State should make efforts to accomplish the goal in time-bound manner.
While stressing on the need for proper planning to be done to achieve the goal of JJM within the timeframe with focus on retrofitting/ augmentation of existing water supply systems to provide FHTCs to remaining households, the Minister urged the CM to pay heed to take up works immediately in 1,334 villages in the State reported to have existing piped water supply schemes, so that the poor and marginalized section of the society will get tap connections at earliest. Priority is to be given to saturation of villages in aspirational districts, SC/ ST dominant villages/ habitations and villages covered under Sansad Adarsh Gram Yojana.
Shri Shekhawat asked for strengthening of existing drinking water sources for long-term sustainability of drinking water supply systems. The planning should be done at village level and Village Action Plan (VAP) of every village is to be prepared by dovetailing all available resources by convergence of different programmes viz. MGNREGS, SBM, 15th Finance Commission Grants to PRIs, CAMPA funds, Local Area Development Funds, etc.
He further stressed that local village community/ Gram Panchayats and or user groups need to be involved in planning, implementation, management, operation and maintenance of water supply systems in villages to ensure long-term sustainability to achieve drinking water security. In all villages, IEC campaign along with community mobilization needs to be taken up to make Jal Jeevan Mission truly a people’s movement.
In 2020-21, Nagaland has been allocated ₹ 125 Crore as 15th Finance Commission Grants to PRIs and 50% of this amount is mandatorily to be utilized for water supply & sanitation. Funds provided under Swachh Bharat Mission (G) are to be utilized for grey water treatment and reuse works.
In the wake of Covid–19 pandemic, it is important that people don’t crowd public stand-posts/public water sources. Nagaland CM has been requested to take up water supply works in all villages to provide household tap connections, which will help in practicing social distancing, and will additionally help locals/ migrants in getting employment and boost rural economy.
Minister of Jal Shakti assured Nagaland CM of his full support to make the State a ‘100% FHTC State’.