With only a marginal increase over the interim budget allocation to deliver on BJP’s poll promise of “Har Ghar Jal”, the finance minister said the government would look to redirect monies from a fund currently used exclusively for forestry, called the Compensatory Afforestation Fund Management and Planning Authority, to ensure piped water supply to all rural households by 2024.
Budget 2019 provided a 22 per cent increase in the funds allocated for national rural drinking water mission to Rs 10,000 crore form the interim budget figure of Rs 8,200 crore. However, this was a substantial jump over the revised estimate of Rs 5,500 crore expenditure made against rural drinking water scheme in financial year 2018-19.
“The Jal Jeevan Mission will converge with other Central and State Government Schemes to achieve its objectives of sustainable water supply management across the country,” the finance minister said.
The Government has identified 1,592 blocks which are critical and over exploited, spread across 256 districts for the Jal Shakti Abhiyan.
Sitharaman said in her budget speech that ensuring India’s water security and providing access to safe and adequate drinking water to all Indians is a priority of the Government. She said the government would also look to converge budgetary allocations from other existing schemes towards this goal.
Integrating the Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation and Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation, the government has constituted the Jal Shakti Ministry to look at the management of water resources and water supply.
In its 2019 manifesto, the BJP had promised that it would launch the “Jal Jivan Mission”, under which its government would ensure piped water for every household by 2024. The manifesto had added that the government would ensure “sustainability of water supply through a special focus on conservation of rural water bodies and ground water recharge.”