New Delhi: As work picks up pace under the Narendra Modi government’s flagship Nal Se Jal mission, aimed at providing drinking water connections to all rural households by 2024, the Centre has started a nationwide survey to assess the quality and quantity of water being supplied through the existing 6 crore tap water connections, ThePrint has learnt.
Of these, approximately 2.55 crore connections came up after August 2019, when the Nal Se Jal programme was launched. The other connections had come up under central and state schemes prior to that.
The Department of Drinking Water and Sanitation under the Union water resources ministry, which is implementing the programme, has roped in market research firm Nielsen India to conduct a survey in around 7,000 villages across all the states to assess three main parameters — if the quality of water supplied is adequate, the quality is of the prescribed standard, and whether the water supply is regular.
The survey started in November and is likely to be completed by January 2021. The report will be ready by March 2021. So far, 75 per cent of the total households have been surveyed.
“Once the survey is completed, we will get an idea if the existing potable water connections need upgrading. The Nal Se Jal programme is not only about providing infrastructure but also to ensure quality service delivery,” a senior officer in the Department of Drinking Water and Sanitation told ThePrint.
“The survey will help us plan our strategy for the existing tap water connections — whether they need to be upgraded or changed. This is in line with what Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been saying that our effort should be to not only provide tap water connection but to ensure that the water supply is regular and of prescribed quality,” the official added.
As part of the survey, Nielsen India will test 15 tap water connections in 10 villages in each of the over 700 districts in the country. In all, 1.5 lakh samples will be tested, a second official of the Department of Drinking Water and Sanitation said.
While selecting the villages, priority has been given to villages with a large population and Scheduled Caste/Scheduled Tribe habitation.
An elaborate questionnaire has been prepared to take very detailed feedback from respondents about the average water being supplied per day/week and whether they are satisfied with the quality of water.
Besides these, the respondents will also be asked about user charges, if any, that they are paying.
Since the launch of Nal Se Jal, 2.55 crore rural households have been provided functional tap connections.
Goa has become the first state to provide functional tap connections in 100 per cent rural households. Bihar, Puducherry, Telangana and Andaman and Nicobar Islands are also set to achieve the 100 per cent target by next year.
Nal Se Jal has a total outlay of Rs 3.6 lakh crore. While the Centre’s share is Rs 2.08 lakh crore, the remaining Rs 1.52 lakh crore is to be borne by states.