Updated: August 18, 2021 7:54:17 am
BIHAR HAS performed the best in providing rural tap water connections under the ambitious Jal Jeevan Mission (JJM) of the Modi government. In the two years since it was launched, the state has gone from being among the bottom five in terms of rural tap water supply (with only 1.84% households having connections), to among the top four (86.96%).
As per the data available on the JJM dashboard as on Tuesday, out of 4.73 crore tap water connections provided across the country since the start of the mission in 2019, 1.46 crore have been in Bihar — that is, every third new connection has been in the state.
The JJM aims to provide Functional Household Tap Bottom 5 to top 4: Bihar leads in getting tap water to rural homes Connection to all rural households by 2024, and was announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his Independence Day speech in 2019.
At the time, only 1.84% rural households in Bihar had tap water supply. Among the other states at the bottom were Uttar Pradesh (1.96%), Assam (1.76%), West Bengal (1.21%) and Meghalaya (0.77%).
In two years, the percentage of Bihar rural households with tap water connections has gone up to 86.96% — taking it surging to among the top-four states. The states faring better than Bihar are Goa (100% connections), Telangana (100%) and Haryana (99.24%).
Bihar Minister for Water Resources Sanjay Kumar Jha told The Indian Express, “Providing drinking water to the people is one of the saat nishchay (seven promises) of Chief Minister Nitish Kumar. He has been personally monitoring the implementation of Har ghar, Nal ka jal (the JJM motto). Due to it, we have been able to achieve this.”
Telangana has also performed commendably, taking its share of rural households with tap water from 29% in 2019 to 100% now.
Three Union territories — Puducherry, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman & Diu — have also achieved the target of 100% rural households receiving tap water.
More-prosperous states like Gujarat, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu, once way ahead of Bihar, now lag behind the state in tap water connections. When the JJM was launched, 70.13% rural households in Gujarat, 34.02% in Maharashtra and 17.15% in Tamil Nadu had tap water supply. They have improved this to 84.06%, 65.08% and 34.74% respectively, show the data as on Tuesday.
Uttar Pradesh, Assam and West Bengal, among the bottom five at the start of the JJM, remain in the same block. As per the latest data, West Bengal (11.13% rural tap water connections), Uttar Pradesh (12.29%), Chhattisgarh (13.11%), Jharkhand (13.98%) and Assam (16.69%) are the five worst performers.
Among the UTs, Ladakh has the lowest percentage — 12.54% — of rural households with water supply.
Incidentally, Uttar Pradesh remains a poor performer despite Union Jal Shakti Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat taking personal interest in the state and visiting it several times. The data show that the state has provided 27.20 lakh new tap water connections in two years.