June 26: Union Minister of Jal Shakti, Shri Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, in his letter to Chief Minister of Goa, expressed happiness that the State plans to provide 100% Functional Household Tap Connections (FHTCs) in rural areas by 2021.
Launched by Prime Minister last year, Jal Jeevan Mission aims to ensure that every rural household has drinking water supply in adequate quantity of prescribed quality on regular and long -term basis at affordable service delivery charges leading to improvement in living standards of rural communities. To assist, empower and facilitate states in planning of participatory rural water supply strategy, water security & building water infrastructure, Ministry of Jal Shakti is working closely with States/ UTs. Access to safe drinking water will surely improve the health of the rural communities by reducing the drudgery of women and girls.
Goa is planning 100% FHTCs to all rural households by 2021. Out of 2.6 lakh households in the State, 2.29 lakh households have already been provided with household tap connection (FHTC). In a meeting chaired by Secretary, Drinking Water & Sanitation, Goa presented the Annual Action Plan for implementation of JJM for 2020-21, wherein Chief Secretary, Goa assured of providing 100% tap connections by 2021 and by doing so, Goa will be one of first few States to achieve the feat and become 100% ‘Har Ghar Jal’ State.
Central Minister reiterated that Union Government is committed to provide all assistance to the State Government to achieve JJM goal. In this scheme the funds are provided by Government of India based on the output in terms of FHTCs provided and the utilization of available Central and matching State share. The Minister through his letter expressed that providing potable water is a national priority for the Government. The fund allocation to Goa in 2020-21 has been increased from Rs. 3.08 Crore to Rs. 12.40 Crore.
Central Minister’s letter exuded faith & optimism with the fact that expeditious implementation of JJM will ensure that people living in rural areas will get potable water in adequate quantity, of prescribed quality on regular basis in their households on long-term basis; thus, ensuring rural women a well-deserved ‘ease of living’ and dignified life. The Minister in his letter advised the State to work in a ‘campaign mode’ for the next 4-6 months and enable the households of poor and marginalised sections of society to get tap connections. This can be achieved easily through retrofitting & augmentation of water supply schemes in 378 villages. Priority should be given on saturating villages in water scarce areas, water quality affected villages, aspirational districts, SC/ ST dominated villages/ habitations and Sansad Adarsh Gram Yojana villages.
Union Minister urged that the State should well utilize the existing resources through convergence of various programmes like MGNREGS, JJM, SBM (G), 15th Finance Commission Grants to PRIs, District Mineral Development Fund, CAMPA, CSR Fund, Local Area Development Fund, etc. for judicious use of funds for source strengthening.
In 2020-21, Goa will get Rs.75 Crore as 15th Finance Commission Grants to Panchayati Raj Institutions and 50% of this fund is to be mandatorily spent on water supply & sanitation. Funds provided under SBM (G) are to be used to take up work related to grey water treatment and reuse.
Jal Shakti Minister urged the Chief Minister to involve local village community/ Gram Panchayat or sub-committee/ user groups in planning, implementation, management, operation & maintenance of water supply schemes in villages for long-term sustainability in all villages. IEC campaign along will community mobilisation needs to be taken up to make JJM a people’s movement.
Goa is an ideal State to start ‘sensor based IoT’ solution to monitor water supply service delivery in every village with modern command and control at State Headquarters, so that quantity, quality and periodicity of water supply could be monitored on real time basis.
This letter of Minister is also timed well, considering the present grim scenario of COVID-19 pandemic. This is a time to instil behavioural changes in the masses to help them practice social distancing & proper hygiene. Jal Jeevan Mission will not only provide relief from water woes, but will also help locals in getting employment. Assuring the Chief Minister of all assistance, the Minister in his letter also indicated discussing issues related to implementation of JJM through video conferencing with the Chief Minister in near future.