Jal Jeevan Mission

Jal Jeevan Mission: Taking Drinking Water to 20 Crore Households with a Technologically Sound Vision

Bharat Lal, Additional Secretary and Mission Director, Jal Jeevan Mission, Government of India talks to Dataquest about the vision of the operation

Clean drinking water – a phrase that seems so simple, and is an essential entity that every living being has the right over. Nevertheless, what a large majority of people often do not realise is that supplying drinking water involves so much more than just administering taps in every household. The painstaking process consists of monitoring the quality and quantity of water being supplied, while also ensuring that citizens are supplied with adequate drinking water that is free from contaminants. Furthermore, to ensure transparency, accountability and efficiency in the process, there is substantial use of technology that also comes into the picture.

Keeping these points in mind, the Government of India envisioned and executed the Jal Jeevan Mission on 15 August 2019, with an aim of “Har Ghar Jal” (water in every rural household). There are roughly 19 crore 20 lakh rural households in India, and making portable water available to every single household in India is nowhere as simple, and is a meticulous process that involves the hard work of thousands of people across the country. The man entrusted with executing and delivering this onerous undertaking, Bharat Lal, Mission Director, Jal Jeevan Mission, recently spoke to Dataquest about every single aspect of what the vision of Har Ghar Jal entails.

Vision of the Jal Jeevan Mission

There are nearly 200 million points, including households, schools and anganwadis where it needs to be ensured that the Government of India supplies clean drinking water. “The clean water needs to be supplied in adequate quantity, in prescribed quality, on regular and long term basis, and most importantly with adequate pressure so that citizens never go without drinking water,” said Bharat Lal to Dataquest. Apart from supplying drinking water, another important aspect of the mission is to treat the grey water that is coming out of the kitchen or washrooms. “This grey water needs to be collected, treated and reused as it is a resource. Leaving it as it as may make it a health hazard,” he adds.

“I’m pretty sure once clean tap water is available at home, the quality of life of people living in villages will certainly improve”

Sustainability is another key ingredient of the mission. “When you are applying such a huge system in the whole country, across every village and household – pumping, chlorination of water, and filtration has to take place. This process would cost something. So, what needs to be understood is when such a modern system is being applied, there needs to be the sustainability of finances, sources, and the system,” states the mission director.

“Jal Jeevan Mission is about building partnerships with the State Governments, Panchayats, NGOs, and Civil Society among others to work together and change lives. Jal Jeevan Mission is a Jan Andolan or Peoples Movement”

Last but not the least, portability of water is the primary aim of the mission to ensure that the water is not contaminated. “This program is being implemented in partnership with the State Governments and Panchayats. For 5 years, a budgetary provision of 3.6 lakh crore has been set aside for the mission. In addition to that, the Government of India, on the recommendation of the Fifteenth Finance Commission, has agreed to give 60 percent of the fund to Panchayats or local bodies for the operation, maintenance and management of water supply system and improved sanitation. So, 1.42 lakh crore will be given in 5 years to Panchayats for this purpose,” he added. The mission also involves educating every village resident to empower them so that the entire village becomes water sanitation and hygiene enlightened.

Technology Play in the Jal Jeevan Mission

India is known for being an IT superpower; therefore, utilising all this knowledge and ideas must be imperative in our day to day lives. The mission hence uses data analytics and IoT to make sure transparency and accountability is maintained. “Before 15 August 2019, only 3,23,62,838 households had tap water connections, which amounts to around 17 percent. This means that the remaining 83 percent needs to be given tap water connections before 2024. Working on such a scale requires speed, and this means that we will have to rely on technology while planning, implementing, monitoring and more importantly in training and capacity building,” comments Bharat Lal.

“Water should become every body’s business and it should not just be the Government’s business. Each and every person should be involved in various aspects of water management”

A database has also been developed as part of the Jal Jeevan Mission, which involves all the investment made on villages on water supply. The Indian Government also has the population data and hydro-geomorphologic data of every village. “Based on all this data, we have used predictive data analytics to make the infrastructure used JJM compliant. Every decision we make is based on data,” he said.

“Citizens are today able to measure their blood glucose levels and blood pressure at home. So when it comes to water, why can’t we have that kind of access at home?”

What’s more, a JJM Dashboard has been created, which is available in the public domain and contains all data and information on the implementation of the mission. The website is also updated on a regular basis and consists of details of every village and district in India. The website mentions that as of today, 8,41,20,258 households, that is nearly 44 percent of the total households in India, are being supplied with clean and drinking water, Furthermore, the website also consists of intricate details such as the status of tap water supply in rural homes, water utility management team of each village, water quality details and the village action plan as well.

The mission is also working on procuring water quality testing devices so that citizens themselves can test the quality of water that is being supplied to their homes, and upload the results on the Water Quality Management Information System (WQIMS) website, which has been developed in partnership with the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR). This database is also available in the public domain. In addition to that, the Jal Jeevan Mission app, JJM IMIS for reports, and the Jal Jeevan Mission website are also being used and have been made available to citizens. Several initiatives of the mission take inspiration from the way the COVID-19 pandemic was handled including testing and vaccination administration.

Jal Jeevan Mission is an Opportunity for Everyone

The mission aims at being inclusive, thus presenting an opportunity for everyone including start-ups and industries. On a pilot basis, IoT systems have been implemented in various states including Rajasthan, Himachal Pradesh, Karnataka and Ladakh. The system is capable of providing real-time information on parameters such as water supplied per day, chlorine level in the water and residual pressure as well. More such pilots will be applied across the country in partnership with industries.

“This Governance model where we work with speed and scale, and heavy use of technology to ensure transparency, accountability and efficiency is what Jal Jeevan Mission is doing,” said Bharat Lal in conclusion.

4 responses to “Jal Jeevan Mission: Taking Drinking Water to 20 Crore Households with a Technologically Sound Vision”

  1. Manjeev says:

    Wonderful step

  2. pol says:

    you are doing a great job.You are perfect just the way you are.

  3. Nikhil Sharma says:

    GREAT WORK

  4. Geta Shr says:

    Uplifting project….good work on the post

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *