Har Ghar Jal Initiative will fall short of its 2024 goal

  • The Har Ghar Jal programme, which is part of the Jal Jeevan Mission, intends to link all rural families in India to potable water by 2024.
  • However, according to several sources and data analysis, the effort is likely to fall short of its goal, with only 75% of village households estimated to have drinking water taps by April 2024.

A Quick Recap of the Har Ghar Jal Initiative

  • Har Ghar Jal (Water to Every Household) is a scheme launched in 2019 by the Ministry of Jal Shakti as part of the Jal Jeevan Mission.
  • Its goal was to deliver running water to every rural family by 2024.
  • The initiative was announced by the Finance Minister in the 2019 Union budget.
  • Goa and Dadra and Nagar Haveli, as well as Daman and Diu, would become the first ‘Har Ghar Jal’ certified state and UT with 100% tap-water availability in August 2022.
  • Gujarat, Puducherry, and Telangana have also attained 100% tap-water access as of January 2023.
  • Since its start, the scheme has considerably increased the supply of clean tap water in Indian households.

The Initiative’s Difficulties

  • Delayed Progress: The COVID-19 epidemic, as well as a lack of competent labour in states, have contributed to the scheme’s delayed implementation.
  • Shortages of Critical Materials: The current Russia-Ukraine conflict has caused in significant shortages of steel and cement, which are critical for making and connecting metal pipes, causing delays and price increases.
  • Manpower Shortage: Some states had difficulty obtaining skilled personnel to build acceptable-quality tanks, cisterns, and water connections.
  • State-Specific Issues: Certain states, like as Rajasthan, experience difficulties in maintaining water availability, while West Bengal and Kerala face water contamination problems.
  • While states report high coverage figures, there is a significant difference between reported and verified connections.

Progress and Expectations

  • Officials now expect approximately 75% of households to be covered by March 2024, and 80% by December 2024.
  • Work has not yet begun: Approximately one crore homes (5% of the total) are yet to begin work under the scheme.
  • Time constraints: It takes an average of eight months to connect all houses in villages that already have access to water sources, making completion in some places doubtful before 2025-26.

Political Factors and Relationship Status

  • Due to political considerations, certain states, such as Bihar and Telangana, did not rely on central money and did not certify their connection status.
  • Certification’s Importance: The pictures of the Prime Minister and Chief Minister are prominently displayed in “Har Ghar Jal” villages that have been verified as 100% compliant, especially if Central money were utilised.
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