Not even 1 in 5 Indian rural households gets piped water, govt tells Parliament

Jal Shakti ministry reiterates all village households will be supplied water by 2024

By Shagun
Published: Thursday 18 July 2019

Barely 18 per cent of India’s rural households have access to piped water, the Lok Sabha was told on July 18.

Out of 17.87 total crore rural households, around 3.27 crore are currently getting water through piped connections, the Union Jal Shakti Ministry said in a written reply to the House. 

The ministry, which has been formed recently, reiterated that it aims to supply piped water to all rural households by 2024.

Providing drinking water to every household was the new Narendra Modi government’s top priority, Union Minister for Finance, Nirmala Sitharam had highlighted in her maiden Budget speech on July 5, 2019.

She had also announced the Jal Jeevan Mission to achieve Har Ghar Jal (piped water supply for all) to all rural households by 2024.

Less than enough

At least 18.97 crore rural habitations are getting less than 40 litres per capita per day, which is the norm while implementing rural water supply schemes for providing potable water, the government told the House while replying to a question on India’s water crisis.

The reply also gave details of the 256 districts identified by the ministry, which are suffering from acute water crisis due to groundwater depletion. Most of these districts are in Telangana, Tamil Nadu, and Uttar Pradesh. 

The ministry had recently identified 1,592 stressed blocks under these 256 districts, where it will focus on five aspects: water conservation and rainwater harvesting, renovation of traditional and other water bodies, reuse of water and recharging of structures, watershed development, and intensive afforestation. 

Under the Jal Jeevan Mission, the water conservation programme will run through citizen participation during the monsoon (July 1-September 15), during which central government officers, led by additional secretaries and joint secretaries, will visit these districts.

An additional phase two will start from October 1 to November 30 for states receiving the northeast retreating monsoon. 

Amid the water crisis across the country, the government has issued advisories between May and July, to 11 states — Gujarat, Jharkand, Karnataka, Kerala, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Tripura, Uttar Pradesh, and Uttarakhand — to use available water judiciously, owing to low water reserves there, the Lok Sabha was informed.   

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