IN THE Budget, the Centre is likely to announce a new flagship programme — Jal Jeevan Mission-Urban (JJM-Urban) — to provide tap water connections to all statutory towns, and, separately, sewer connections to all cities with a population of over 1 lakh, by 2026.
Government sources said the Expenditure Finance Committee approved the Rs 2,79,500-crore five-year programme on December 17, and the Union Housing and Urban Affairs Ministry has submitted the proposal to the Cabinet Secretariat.
“There was a demand from states that cities not covered under the Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT) should also be provided support for water and sewage,” a source told The Sunday Express.
“More than 3,500 cities are not supported by any structured scheme… so the government has decided to launch another scheme to cover all 4,000 for water supply,” the source said. The proposal to the EFC estimates JJM-Urban to target 2.68 crore households which do not have tap connections, and 2.64 crore households without sewerage or septage facilities.
Modelled after the rural Jal Jeevan Mission, the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs has proposed a parallel programme to provide tap water connection in every urban household by 2026. It will also focus on sewage connections in 500 cities with a population of over 1 lakh.
Sources said the proposal would subsume AMRUT under JJM-Urban. The ongoing AMRUT programme focuses on 500 cities, mostly those with over 1 lakh population, and aims to provide tap connections to 1.39 crore households. The scheme has currently provided 95 lakh connections, roughly 75 per cent, they said.
While JJM (U) aims to saturate urban areas with tap connections, the remaining sewage connections outside of the AMRUT cities will be overseen by the Swachh Bharat Mission.
Acknowledging that the onus of fetching water falls squarely on women and girls in the Indian society, the proposal states that “the time saved could be used to attend to education, economic activities, and general wellbeing.”
The proposed funding pattern for JJM (U) is to have the Centre provide 100 per cent funding in Union Territories without a legislature, 90 per cent in North Eastern and other Himalayan States, half in cities with a population below one lakh, one-third in cities with a population between one lakh and 10 lakh, and one-fourth in cities with over a million people.
“With ever changing scenarios in the field of water, like improving technology, funding through external sources and availability of water through various sources like surface water, recycled waste water, harvested rainwater etc. it is imperative to devise comprehensive water plans for every city… The water supply needs to be sustainable, equitable and should meet specified quality standards,” the proposal seen by The Sunday Express states.
“The EFC had recommended a few suggestions, such as providing outcome-based funding, rather than just input or project based funding,” said the source, stating that they would attempt to combine these types of funding after two years. Swachh Bharat Mission currently provides some level of outcome based funding, where the Center pays the states once certain goals are achieved.
“The EFC also recommended private-public partnerships… but this may be difficult in the water sector. It’s not like roads with tolls,” the source said.
The document states The Agence Française de Développement (AFD), the French Development Bank, and KfW, the German Development Bank, have show interest to fund up to $200 million and $300 million, respectively.
India’s urban population is roughly 37.7 crore, of which 32 crore people live in 4,041 statutory towns and 20.48 crore people have access to piped water supply, according to Census 2011. At the household-level, 4.28 crore households out of a total 6.71 crore in the statutory towns had access to piped water supply.
The proposal to the EFC estimates a total urban population of 44.03 crore in statutory towns by 2025 (assuming a growth rate of 2.31 per cent), of which 33.19 crore will have access to piped water supply. Similarly, it estimates 9.24 crore urban households in all statutory towns.
A portion, 11 per cent, of funds may be earmarked for development of parks and green spaces, the proposal states. Other allotted costs include a technology sub-mission; information, education, and communication; and reform incentive.