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Transforming Lives: The Jal Jeevan Mission’s Impact on Rural India

The inception of the Jal Jeevan Mission in 2019 stands as a pivotal moment in India’s drinking water management journey. Spearheaded by the Department of Drinking Water and Sanitation, Ministry of Jal Shakti, the mission’s core objective is to extend functional household tap water connections (FHTCs) to every rural household, guaranteeing a minimum supply of 55 litres of quality water per capita per day. Its primary goals revolve around curbing waterborne diseases, easing access to drinking water, and bolstering the overall health and productivity of rural communities.

With remarkable progress achieved since its commencement, Jal Jeevan Mission has already connected taps in threefourths of the 19 crore rural households across India. A study conducted by the World Health Organization has indicated huge, anticipated gain in the health benefits from this mission as it meets the daily requirements of quality drinking water.

With such large-scale public investments in rural areas, we also need to examine the ‘spillover effect’ of the mission, particularly in employment generation. A study conducted by the Centre for Public Policy under IIM Bangalore provides keen insights on the employment generation potentials of Jal Jeevan Mission at various stages of its implementation, including aspects such as direct and indirect employment generated.

The extent and type of jobs generated in each scheme depends on type of schemes – Single Village Scheme and Multi Village Schemes and the phase of implementation – construction or operations and maintenance. The nature and type of scheme, whether retrofitted or newly constructed, also influence employment generation.

The study adopted both macro and micro approaches to understand the implications of the investment on employment across industries as well as states. In the macro approach, input-output model was used to estimate the impact of the investment on employment across industries while in the micro approach, sample data collected of completed Jal JeevanMission schemes from different states were used to estimate direct employment at the time of construction and Operations and Maintenance phases of the projects.

The inception of the Jal Jeevan Mission in 2019 stands as a pivotal moment in India’s drinking water management journey. Spearheaded by the Department of Drinking Water and Sanitation, Ministry of Jal Shakti, the mission’s core objective is to extend functional household tap water connections (FHTCs) to every rural household, guaranteeing a minimum supply of 55 litres of quality water per capita per day. Its primary goals revolve around curbing waterborne diseases, easing access to drinking water, and bolstering the overall health and productivity of rural communities.

With remarkable progress achieved since its commencement, Jal Jeevan Mission has already connected taps in threefourths of the 19 crore rural households across India. A study conducted by the World Health Organization has indicated huge, anticipated gain in the health benefits from this mission as it meets the daily requirements of quality drinking water.

With such large-scale public investments in rural areas, we also need to examine the ‘spillover effect’ of the mission, particularly in employment generation. A study conducted by the Centre for Public Policy under IIM Bangalore provides keen insights on the employment generation potentials of Jal Jeevan Mission at various stages of its implementation, including aspects such as direct and indirect employment generated.

The extent and type of jobs generated in each scheme depends on type of schemes - Single Village Scheme and Multi Village Schemes and the phase of implementation – construction or operations and maintenance. The nature and type of scheme, whether retrofitted or newly constructed, also influence employment generation.

The study adopted both macro and micro approaches to understand the implications of the investment on employment across industries as well as states. In the macro approach, input-output model was used to estimate the impact of the investment on employment across industries while in the micro approach, sample data collected of completed Jal JeevanMission schemes from different states were used to estimate direct employment at the time of construction and Operations and Maintenance phases of the projects.

Jal Jeevan Mission is one of the large-scale public utility programmes covering all the 19 crore rural households in India. This mission, once successfully completed, is anticipated to have several health and livelihood benefits.

The study conducted at IIM Bangalore indicates that the mission potentially generates large scale employment, both direct and indirect, in construction as well as operations and maintenance phases in rural India.

(The views expressed by the author are personal)

Dr Gopal Naik Jal Jeevan Mission Chair Professor Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore

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