PM Modi’s Jal Jeevan Mission will obliterate a slew of problems, including health

Punjab is a land with numerous rivers. We have been blessed with clean and wholesome water for drinking and irrigation for thousands of years. However, times have changed dramatically, and we now struggle to obtain safe drinking water.

water supply
According to studies, one-third of the groundwater in India's entire district is unsafe for human consumption due to increased levels of fluoride, iron, salt, and arsenic. (Photo source: IE)

By Gopal Goswami,

आपः पृणीत भेषजम् वरूथम् तन्वे मम, ज्योक् च सूर्यम् दृशे ।

प्रभु से मेरी प्रार्थना है की जल मेरे शरीर के लिए एक रोग निवारक औषधि की तरह कार्य करे और में चिरंजीवी होकर लम्बे समय तक सूर्य को देखता रहूँ.

India has a long history of being recognised for its abundant and clean water resources; since ancient times, its rivers have been respected for their pure water; the Ganga, Yamuna, and Sarasvati have all been worshipped, and the water has been dubbed Pavitra and is believed to cure ailments. Of the south, the Krishna, Kaveri, Mahanadi, and Narmada rivers in Gujarat are recognised as the states’ lifelines. Punjab is a land with numerous rivers. We have been blessed with clean and wholesome water for drinking and irrigation for thousands of years. However, times have changed dramatically, and we now struggle to obtain safe drinking water. The majority of illnesses are caused by

“While a safe water supply is vital for economic health on a global scale, it is persistently under-prioritized.”

The United Nations estimates that each year, over three million people die from water-related diseases caused by contaminated water, including 12 lakh children. Around one lakh people die each year in India alone from water-borne infections. According to studies, one-third of the groundwater in India’s entire district is unsafe for human consumption due to increased levels of fluoride, iron, salt, and arsenic. Around 6.5 crore people have been impacted by fluorosis, a paralysing illness produced by too much fluoride, while over 50 lakh people in West Bengal have been affected by arsenicosis, a disease caused by too much arsenic. According to a World Resources Report, over 70% of India’s drinking water is contaminated by sewage effluents as a result of unplanned industrialisation and untreated effluent discharged into the ground or rivers. India’s water quality is inadequate, according to the United Nations; it ranks 120th out of 122 nations in terms of the quality of water given to its inhabitants.

Each year, as a result of insufficient drinking water and sanitation, water-borne diseases such as cholera, gastroenteritis, and diarrhoea spread throughout India’s summer and rainy seasons. The following is a list of India’s five most dangerous water-related diseases:

1) Diarrhea

a) Malaria

3) cholera

4) Typhoid

5) Filariasis

When Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the Jal Jeevan Mission, he was fully aware of the dangers associated with drinking tainted water, which is used by the vast majority of our population. He witnessed this atrocity in North Gujarat during his stint as Gujarat’s Chief Minister. He introduced initiatives to raise ground water levels by water promoting water harvesting and the construction of over a million small/medium check dams. He has worked tirelessly to ensure that purified water is delivered to every village/falia in Gujarat. The Narmada and Tapti rivers became the source, and practically every village in Gujarat now draws water from the Narmada or Tapti, the perennial rivers of Gujarat.

PM Modi has taken this aim a step further by launching “Har Ghar Nal Se Jal” after becoming Prime Minister. Narendra Modi’s administration is attempting to ensure that every home in the country has access to piped water by 2024 under the Jal Jeevan Mission. While he is at it, he is also focusing on the water-borne diseases that harm millions of people.

When Prime Minister Modi started the Jal Jeevan Mission on August 15, 2019, just 3.29 crore out of 19 crore households have access to tap water. Mothers and sisters were needed to obtain water from far away, and many girls were unable to attend school or dropped out owing to the difficulty of obtaining water from distant sources.

Five crores tap water connections have been made to residences across states since the scheme began in December 2019. He forecast that it will shortly exceed 8 crores. And by 2024, all 19 million households will have access to safe drinking water. Telangana, Gujarat, Punjab, Uttarakhand, Maharashtra, and Himachal Pradesh have all achieved between 80% and 100% of their Jal Jeevan Mission targets. Several states lag behind, including Rajasthan, and Bengal. All states must contribute by implementing this project so all the citizens must get the benefit of pure tapped water at each household.

There are numerous negative consequences resulting from households lacking access to a safe and reliable water source, especially one that is directly linked to their home. Women and children are mostly responsible for water collection; in rural regions, when children are required to spend hours getting water, school attendance suffers. Drought-affected states have reported over 25% increase in school dropout rates. Nearly 55% of rural women – as well as some teenage girls – spend between 35-60 minutes each day gathering water.

Waterborne diseases are estimated to cost India around Rs 5000 crore per year; this money may be used to provide safe drinking water, as Prime Minister Modi recognised when he established the “har ghar nal se jal” plan. In India, fewer than half of the population has access to potable water that is safe to drink. Chemical contamination of drinking water is a problem in 1.96 million homes, owing mostly to fluoride and arsenic. According to the World Health Organization, excessive fluoride in India might damage millions of people across 19 states, while excessive arsenic in West Bengal could affect up to 15 million people.

Additionally, two-thirds of India’s 748 districts face acute water shortages, and the current lack of water safety and security planning is cause for concern. One of the issues is the growing depletion of groundwater in India, the world’s greatest user of this resource due to the expansion of drilling over the previous several decades. Through approximately 30 million access points, groundwater supplies 85 percent of drinking water in rural areas and 50 percent of water demand in urban areas.

A budget of Rs 23,500 crore has been allocated for the Jal Jeevan Mission’s implementation in 2020-21 to ensure its success. Additionally, in 2020-21, 50% of the 15th Finance Commission’s Grants to Rural Local Bodies, or Rs. 30,375 crores as a tied grant, would be utilised for water supply and sanitation. This enables more efficient design, development, administration, operation, and maintenance of village drinking water distribution systems.

This program has given a huge boost to pipe manufacturing and employment to millions.

PM Modi is making a concerted effort to eradicate the underlying ills afflicting Indian ordinary people, particularly women; he began it with the Swachh Bharat Mission, which provided toilets to every family, made India open defecation free and has now expanded to include clean tap water. These are the largest and most effective social initiatives initiated and implemented by any Indian government since independence. PM Modi is a true socialist in a real sense; he is addressing such concerns one by one to improve the quality of life of a common man of India, and for him to come with more such welfare schemes, would handle further such fundamental demands.

(The author is Research Scholar, NIT Surat. Views expressed are personal and do not reflect the official position or policy of Financial Express Online. )

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