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After rural homes, govt now plans mega scheme to extend tap water facility to urban homes

Centre is likely to allocate Rs 2.64 lakh crore in the next budget for the scheme, which will be a joint venture between the central and state governments.

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New Delhi: After launching a scheme last year that aims to provide functional tap water connection to every rural household by 2024, the Narendra Modi government is now planning to extend the facility to each and every urban household.

The government is readying the blueprint to launch a Rs 2.64 lakh crore scheme to provide approximately 3.5 crore urban households, which don’t have access to piped drinking water, with functional tap water connections, ThePrint has learnt.

This scheme will be a part of the government’s Jal Jeevan Mission. Under the rural leg of the Jal Jeevan Mission, 18.93 crore households will be provided drinking water supply by 2024 as part of the Nal Se Jal scheme.

The urban leg of the Jal Jeevan Mission will also focus on providing sewerage connection, managing septic tanks, recycling used water and water conservation, besides providing drinking water connection.

Government sources said the urban leg of the programme is estimated to cost Rs 2.64 lakh crore and will be a joint venture between the Centre and states. 

According to the proposal, the Centre will provide Rs 79,000 crore of the total cost, while the remaining cost will be borne by the respective states and urban local bodies. 

The scheme, once it is launched, will be of a five-year duration, sources added.

Also read: Bengal, UP, Karnataka fared worst, Goa the best under Nal Se Jal scheme, govt review says

‘Allocation expected in next budget’

The Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, which will implement the scheme, is in the process of finalising its modalities.  

“The allocation for the scheme is expected to be made in the next budget. The first year of the scheme will be a preparatory phase where not much funds will be required,” said a source in the ministry. 

The ministry is already implementing a similar scheme — Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT) — covering 500 cities. 

The scheme, launched in 2015, will end this year. Its mandate was to provide water connection to 1.39 crore urban households in these 500 cities and improve their water supply capacity.

Besides water connections, the scheme also envisaged providing 1.45 crore sewer connections, storm water drainage projects, parks and green spaces.  

According to the ministry data available on its website, so far 3,045 projects worth Rs 12,600 crore have been completed under AMRUT, while work is in progress for another 2,553 projects worth Rs 65,235 crore.

Ministry sources said if some of the projects under AMRUT are not completed, they will be subsumed under the Jal Jeevan Mission, once the new scheme is launched.

Also, unlike AMRUT, which covered just 500 cities, Jal Jeevan Mission will cover all the 4,041 statutory cities in the country. Statutory cities are those that have a municipality, corporation, cantonment board or a notified town area committee.  

Nal Se Jal scheme 

The Nal Se Jal scheme, launched in August 2019 with a total outlay of Rs 3.60 lakh crore, promises to provide approximately 18.93 crore rural households with 55 litre per capita per day drinking water of prescribed quality on a regular basis through a functional household tap.

Currently, only 5.78 crore rural households have tap water connections, according to government data. Of this, 2.55 crore connections were provided between August 2019 and October 2020.

Also read: Bihar has provided over 4 lakh ‘Nal Se Jal’ connections in April-June period of election year


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