Sunday, April 2, 2023
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Modi govt wants states to employ returning migrant workers in Har Ghar Nal Se Jal projects

The Centre has told states they should engage skilled and semi-skilled workforce from among the migrant workers, who have returned to their villages.

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New Delhi: In a move aimed at ensuring livelihood for migrant workers returning home, the Narendra Modi government has asked states to engage them for implementing its flagship ‘Har Ghar Nal Se Jal’ programme, ThePrint has learnt.

The scheme, under the Jal Jeevan Mission, promises piped water in every rural household by 2024. Launched last year with a total outlay of Rs 3.60 lakh crore, the programme promises to provide approximately 18 crore rural households with 55 litre per capita per day drinking water of prescribed quality on a regular basis through a functional household tap.

In a communication to states last month, the Department of Drinking Water and Sanitation, which is implementing the programme, said states should engage skilled and semi-skilled workforce from among the migrant workers, who have returned to their villages.

“States will anyways be hiring people for various works under the scheme. It will help that many among the migrant workers who have returned will have the required skill sets,” said a senior official of the department, which functions under the Jal Shakti Ministry.

Providing livelihood to hundreds of thousands of migrant workers returning to their home states after they were left without work following the over two-month Covid lockdown has become a big concern for the government, said a second official.

“There is also a growing realisation that absence of livelihood could cause further distress to migrant workers. The government has already increased the allocation for the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme by another Rs 40,000 crore, over and above the Rs 60,000 crore allocated in the budget,” the official added.

Also read: Under Nal Se Jal, villagers will decide how much they should pay for water they consume

Progress of work on the programme

Officials said the Modi government’s flagship programme to take potable water to all rural households by 2024 got a further leg up with the 15th Finance Commission grant to the tune of Rs 30,375 crore to rural local bodies.

“The grant is to be utilised for two components — supply of drinking water, rain water harvesting and water recycling, and secondly, sanitation and maintenance of open defecation free status,” said the first official.

The official added work is going on in full swing, and seven states and union territories, including Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana, Mizoram and Goa, are likely to provide piped drinking water to all rural households by 2022, two years ahead of the deadline. 

“In the last three months, physical work on the ground had slowed down a bit but we made up for this by finishing the review of the states’ annual plan,” the second official said.

The Drinking Water and Sanitation department has recently completed revalidating the data related to rural households and the total number of functional taps provided by the states.

According to the data, there were 17.87 crore rural households with only 3.26 crore having piped water supply last year when the scheme was launched.

“But post the revalidation, the number of households has now increased to 19 crore, of which 3.01 crore have functional taps at home. The number of households has increased as earlier Gujarat and Kerala had left out households in peri-urban areas. Now that has been included in the list of rural households,” the official added.

Also read: Plumber, mason, mechanic — new roles for rural women under Modi govt’s Jal Jeevan Mission


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  1. Very laudable initiative.Will ensure economic progress as well as rural development n employment to poor.

  2. The States where migrants hv returned back r all failed States. Their CM’s r corrupt who can’t provide jobs for it’s ppl.

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