In plan to step up Jal Jeevan Mission in Covid times, Centre has 2 clear object...

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Home / India News / In plan to step up Jal Jeevan Mission in Covid times, Centre has 2 clear objectives

The Centre has decided to step up implementation of the Jal Jeevan Mission (JJM) to stick to its target and provide employment to migrant workers who returned to their villages due to the Covid-19 lockdown and do not want to immediately return to the cities, people familiar with the development said on Sunday.

The mission targets supply potable drinking water through piped connections to 15 crore rural households by 2024.

“We have asked state governments to scale up implementation of the mission. This will ensure that the mission, which was halted due to the lockdown, will not miss deadlines. It will also help states provide employment to workers at the grassroots,” a government official said.

The official said Union Jal Shakti minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat had started reaching out to chief ministers.

“As the prime minister often underlines, we are determined to turn this challenge into an opportunity,” he said.

Officials said the Centre had asked states to use funds from MNREGA {Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act} to dig trenches for laying pipes and funds from the Jal Jeevan Mission to lay the pipes and carrying out other specialised activities.

The government is expected to spend Rs 3.6 lakh crore - Rs 2.08 lakh crore is the central state - to achieve its 2024 target of supplying 55 litres per capita per day.

Officials said the government had already released the first tranche of the first installment to all states who needed funds. For 2020-21, a provision of Rs 23,500 crore has been made for the mission.

Nearly 163 million Indians lack access to clean water, the highest number for any country, according to WaterAid, a non-government organisation.

According to data from the Jal Shakti ministry, in states like Bihar, Odisha and Jharkhand, fewer than 5% of rural households have piped water. That compares with 99% of rural households that have piped water supply in Sikkim.

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