New Delhi, June 14 : With a vision of providing clean tap water to every household, the Union government has increased the Central grant to Andhra Pradesh under the Jal Jeevan Mission (JJM) this year to Rs 3,182.88 crore, which was Rs 790.48 crore in 2020.
While approving this four-fold increase in allocation, Union Jal Shakti Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat assured full assistance to the state for making provision of tap water supply in every rural home by 2024.
At the start of the Mission in 2019, out of a total of 19.20 crore rural households in the country, only 3.23 crore (17 per cent) had tap water supply.
During the last 21 months, despite the Covid-19 pandemic and lockdown disruptions, JJM has been implemented with speed and 4.29 crore households have been provided with piped water connection.
With the increase in coverage by 22 per cent, presently 7.52 crore (39.22 per cent) rural households across the country have tap water supply.
Goa, Telangana, Andaman and Nicobar Islands and Puducherry have achieved 100 per cent household connection in rural areas, achieving the ‘Har Ghar Jal’ motto.
At present, in 62 districts and more than 92,000 villages, every household has tap water supply.
In Andhra Pradesh, out of a total of 95.66 lakh rural households in 18,650 villages, 46.89 lakh (49.02 per cent) houses have been provided with tap water connection.
Andhra Pradesh has to provide tap water connection to the remaining 48.77 lakh households to achieve the ‘Har Ghar Jal’ target.
The state has to accelerate its speed of implementation to meet the timeline.It has planned to provide tap water connection to 32.47 lakh households in 2021-22, 12.28 lakh in 2022-23 and 6 lakh in 2023-24 to achieve the target.
In 2020-21, Andhra Pradesh could provide only 12.97 lakh tap water connections.The work to provide tap water connection has not yet started in 874 villages of the state.
The pace of implementation in the state in the last quarter of 2020-21 was 2.92 lakh connections per month, which has dropped to about 74,379 connections per month in April and May this year.The state has to provide about 4 lakh tap water connections per month to achieve the target set for 2021-22.
Urging the state to accelerate the pace of implementation, Shekhawat has written a letter to Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y.S.Jagan Mohan Reddy, emphasising that the work of providing tap connection should start in all the villages so that the state can provide tap water to every household by March 2024.
In 2020-21, Rs 790.48 crore Central grant was available with the state, out of which only Rs 297.62 crore was drawn by it.Thus, the state surrendered Rs 492.86 crore meant for tap water supply in the rural areas of Andhra Pradesh.
This year with four-fold increase in Central allocation (Rs 3,182.88 crore), an opening balance of Rs 146.65 crore, Rs 242.91 crore shortfall in state share during the last year and the matching state share for the current year, Andhra Pradesh has Rs 6,805.71 crore assured funds for the implementation of JJM.
As availability of funds is not a constraint, the Union minister has urged the state to perform better to avail the Central grant fully and utilise the same so that the benefits reach the people of the state.
In 2021-22, Rs 1,164 crore has been allocated to Andhra Pradesh as the 15th Finance Commission has tied the grant for water and sanitation to the rural local bodies.There is an assured funding of Rs 6,138 crore for the next five years up to 2025-26.
“This huge investment in the rural areas of Andhra Pradesh will accelerate economic activities and also boost the rural economy.It will create new employment opportunities in the villages,” said the ministry.