As mission Nal se Jal is the most ambitious and perhaps most prioritized scheme for Narendra Modi’s second term, the same may translate into billions-of-dollars opportunity for investors.
As mission Nal se Jal is the most ambitious and perhaps most prioritized scheme for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s second term, the same may translate into billions-of-dollars opportunity for investors as the mechanism to take water to every household has been one of the most under focused areas till now. “Our deep-dive into this space suggests that although there is a case for $262 billion investment over the next three decades to boost water availability,” research and brokerage firm Emkay said in a report. However, the actual spending under the scheme is expected to be gradual, the report added. The government is expected to allocate a maximum of $70 billion through FY 2020-24, against the required $262 billion.
Even then, there are concerns that the Prime Minister’s pet scheme may remain just a pipe dream due to various constraints. While the Modi government set up an altogether new ministry for the Nal se Jal mission, the mission still lacks a clear pathway for its execution. “Our discussions with officials across the Jal Shakti Ministry, state water supply and sanitation departments, companies active in the water sector, and others indicate that there is little clarity on the actual roadmap across the chain as of now,” Emkay said in the report.
Can Nal se Jal emulate Swachh Bharat’s success?
Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, the flagship scheme of Narendra Modi government’s first term, has been a resounding success and the mission overachieved its target of constructing nine crore toilets across India. However, unlike Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, Nal se Jal will face certain challenges which were elusive to Swacch Bharat Abhiyan (SBA). “This is because unlike SBA, the onus of actual construction, land acquisition, connectivity and water availability is on the government,” the Emkay report said. Further, the government also faces funding constraints, which can be taken care of only if investments in other infra sub-sector are paused. There are many fronts to the umbrella Jal Jivan Mission including river interlinking, water and sewage treatment, and irrigation, which also need government capex.
Modi government had announced its ‘Jal Jivan Mission’, which is the umbrella scheme for other programs like ‘Nal se Jal’, during the release of BJP manifesto 2019. The program aims at providing piped water connection to every house by 2024.