New Delhi, July 11, 2020: The Ministry of Jal Shakti  is implementing Jal Jeevan Mission in partnership with States since August 2019 with an aim to provide 100% functional household tap connections (FHTC) to every rural household of the country by 2024 to improve their lives and ensure ‘ease of living’ as commitment of the Government is to ensure ‘equity and inclusiveness’, so that none is deprived of basic amenities. Having successfully delivered assured facilities like rural housing, cooking gas, toilet, financial inclusion, basic healthcare, etc., Government is vnow focused upon providing safe drinking water to every household in our villages.

With focus on empowering the rural community as enshrined in 73rd Constitutional Amendment, Jal Jeevan Mission mandates to involve the local community in planning, managing, implementing, operation and maintaining the water supply schemes meant for them, which will not only instil ‘sense of ownership and responsibility’, but will help in  long-term sustainability.

         In this decentralized, demand driven, community-managed programme, local village community/ Gram Panchayats (GPs) and/ or its sub-committee/ user groups will play a key role in planning, implementation, management, operation and maintenance of in-village water supply systems in villages to ensure long-term sustainability to achieve drinking water security. Gram Panchayat or its sub-committee i.e. Village Water & Sanitation Committee (VWSC) or Paani Samiti will have of 10–15 members comprising elected members of Panchayat up to 25% of the composition; 50% women members; and remaining 25% may consist of representatives of weaker sections of the village proportional to their population.

            For the mission, Gram Panchayat or sub-committee needs to develop the Village Action Plans (VAP) with the support of communities. The Plan is to be prepared for each village by mobilization and participation of local community with focus on strengthening of drinking water sources, in-village water supply infrastructure, grey water treatment and reuse and operation & maintenance of water supply systems so as every family gets assured supply of potable water.

Amidst the current pandemic situation, the Department of Water Supply & Sanitation, Water Supply and Sanitation support organisation (WSSO) and District Water and Sanitation Mission of Osmanabad District (DWSM) with the support of UNICEF Maharashtra and ‘Arghyam’ organised the online workshop during 6-8 July 2020 to prepare the village action plans with technical support from two agencies.

The online training for village action plan preparation exercise was for 100 Gram Panchayats of Osmanabad. Osmanabad is one of the ‘Aspirational Districts’ from the State. The workshop was conducted to enhance understanding and capacities of stakeholders involved in the rural water supply including line departments and Gram Panchayat functionaries (Sarpanch, Gram sevak and Jalsurakshaks).

It was a challenging task to set the framework for training of 100 Gram Panchayats in times of pandemic situation. However, the planning was made possible through digital medium. For that, around 100 Gram Panchayats were identified and a comprehensive list of officials at district level to be trained as Master trainers was also prepared. A group was formed on to keep the participants updated on the details of the workshop. Necessary data support and technological support were provided by the experts and district staff involved in the programme. The Gram Panchayats were given online classes on the overview of Jal Jeevan Mission, importance of Village Action Plan and the process. Besides, the Gram Panchayats were also trained to use the digital platform efficiently, to move ahead with times.

Each session was conducted by using audio-visuals and reference material developed by the resource organisations. The presentations and videos were developed keeping the ethos of JJM guidelines and the Covid-19 protocols. The resource material including presentations and videos were shared with all the participants at the end of the training.

            The district has selected 100 GPs from three blocks namely Kalamb (30 GPs), Osmanabad (35 GPs) and Tuljapur (35 GPs). Around 287 Participants including 86 Gramsevaks and 100 Sarpanches & Jalsurakshaks participated in this workshop.

Under Jal Jeevan Mission, Gram Panchayat or its sub-committee is being empowered as a ‘responsible and responsive’ local level ‘public utility’ with focus on ‘service delivery’ i.e. supply of potable water in adequate quantity and of prescribed quality on regular and long-term basis.