The State of Gujarat presented their Annual Action Plan for 2021-22 under Jal Jeevan Mission to the national committee chaired by the Secretary, Department of Drinking Water & Sanitation via video conference with details of the saturation plan for the financial year 2021-22, thereby ensuring every rural household gets tap water connection. In 2021-22, the State plans to provide 10 lakh tap water connections in the rural areas of the State. During 2020-21, Gujarat received the performance incentive grant of Rs.100 Crore under the JJM for better performance. During the presentation, Gujarat reiterated the commitment to achieve ‘Har Ghar Jal’ target by 2022-23.
The State has over 93 lakh rural households, out of which 77.16 lakh (83%) have tap water supply. 12 lakh tap water connections have been provided in rural households in Gujarat in the last 1½ year under Jal Jeevan Mission. So far, 5 districts, 31 blocks and 8,242 villages in Gujarat have been declared ‘Har Ghar Jal’, which means every rural household in these areas has tap water supply. The State was urged to give more emphasis on the priority areas like SC/ ST dominated habitations, SAGY villages, etc. The committee appreciated the efforts made by the State in providing 100% piped water supply in all schools and anganwadi centres under the 100-day campaign launched on 2nd October 2020.
The exercise of taking up the Annual Action Plan (AAP) of States/ UTs under Jal Jeevan Mission is done by a national committee chaired by the Secretary, Department of Drinking Water & Sanitation and members from different ministries/ departments and NITI Aayog. Thereafter, funds are released throughout the year based on the progress and expenditure incurred from time-to-time. The detailed planning exercise is undertaken to help the State to achieve the goal ‘Har Ghar Jal’.
JJM is a flagship programme of the Union Government, which aims to provide tap water connection in every rural household by 2024. In 2020-21, Rs 983 (including performance incentive of Rs. 100 crore) Crore was released to the State to provide assured tap water supply in rural areas. In the 2021-22, Gujarat is likely to get about Rs. 2,000 Crore as Central funds to take up various works under Jal Jeevan Mission.
Under Jal Jeevan Mission, in 2021-22, in addition to Rs 50,011 Crore budgetary allocation for JJM, there is also Rs 26,940 Crore assured fund available under the 15th Finance Commission tied-grant to RLB/ PRIs for water & sanitation, matching State share and externally aided as well as State funded projects. Thus, in 2021-22, more than Rs. 1 lakh Crore is planned to be invested in the country on ensuring tap water supply to rural homes.
Jal Jeevan Mission focusses on development of Village Action Plan (VAP) and constitution of Pani Samiti in every village. Gujarat is the pioneer in the decentralized management of water supply through Gram Panchayat or its sub-committee i.e. Pani Samiti, which started in Gujarat in 2002 under Water and Management Support Organisation (WASMO), where the local community played the key role in planning, implementation, management, operation and maintenance of water supply systems in villages. Pani Samiti are constituted in all villages of the State. So far, 17,107 Village Action Plans have been prepared. This ensures bottom-up approach followed by the State, where the local community plays a central role in ensuring drinking water security.
Under JJM, efforts are made to dovetail all available resources by convergence of different programmes viz. MGNREGS, SBM, 15th Finance Commission Grants to PRIs, CAMPA funds, Local Area Development Funds, etc. The committee suggested that the State should utilize its convergence fund for grey water management and water harvesting.
The AAP emphasizes on drinking water source strengthening/ augmentation, water supply works to provide tap water connections to households, greywater treatment & reuse, and operation & maintenance of in-village water supply system. The State is planning to engage experts/support staff of 765 people in State, District and sub-district level. In addition to it, they plan to train 8,520 people from Engineering cadre (Superintendent Engineer, Executive Engineer, Assistant Engineer and Junior Engineer), block level officials, Pani Samiti members. 6,000 personnel in the State will also be trained as plumber, electrician, fitter, mason, pump operator and motor mechanic. This trained human resource will be used to build the water supply infrastructure as well as their operation and maintenance.
Under Jal Jeevan Mission, community is being encouraged to carry out surveillance of water sources and delivery points from time-to-time to ascertain the quality of water supplied. PHE Department is facilitating the community to empower and engage with local people. For this, an action plan is carried out to incorporate activities like timely procurement and supply of field test kits to the Panchayats, identification of at least five women in every village for community engagement, training women on how to use the Field Test Kits and reporting the test result findings. Gujarat has only 1 NABL accredited State level water testing laboratory and 14 district laboratories. There is need to set up more water testing centres across the State. There is need for the State to set up district and block level water testing laboratories with NABL accreditation for existing ones so that people are able to get their water test conducted at nominal rates.
The State is planning to pilot IoT based sensors for measurement and monitoring of water supply in villages to monitor the functionality of water supply i.e. potable water in adequate quantity and of prescribed quality being provided to every rural household on regular and long-term basis.