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When Grand Schemes Serve Children – Examples from Swachh Bharat and Jal Jeevan Mission

As we noted earlier also, like the Swachh Bharat Mission in the first year of the Modi government, Jal Jeevan Mission is transforming lives at the grassroots. An endearing accomplishment which finds commonality in both the flagship schemes needs an acknowledgement.

The major focus area of Swachh Bharat Mission was to build household toilets. It did the job splendidly. But a notable development in the process was that the mission quickly recognised that building toilets, especially separate toilets for girl students, can become a major step in the campaign.

Swachh Vidyalaya in Respect of Girl Students

Prime Minister Narendra Modi took the pledge of Swachh Vidyalaya to achieve this purpose. Under Swachh Vidyalaya initiative 4.17 lakh toilets in 2.61 lakh government elementary and secondary schools were constructed/re-constructed within a span of one year. By August 15, 2015, separate toilets for girls and boys in all government schools were ensured in association with States, UTs, Public Sector Undertakings and private corporates. This helped to arrest the problem of girl students in rural areas dropping out from school at attaining puberty since there were no separate toilets.

Apart from this specific focus, Swachh Bharat also brought many health benefits to children. For instance, the World Health organisation in a report in 2018 said that Swachh Bharat Mission would have averted 3 lakh deaths which would occurred due to diarrheal disease and protein-energy malnutrition (PEM) since its launch in October 2014. For more details you can revisit our article Mahatma Must Be Smiling: An Invaluable Gift from Swachh Bharat Abhiyan to Children.

Now, Jal Jeevan Mission – Also Child at Heart

Jal Jeevan Mission, which was launched on August 15, 2019 has reached over 3.41 crore families living in rural areas with tap water connection in their homes, increasing the coverage of rural households with tap water connections from 17% to 34.63%.  So, at present, 6.64 Crore rural families have seen an improvement in their quality of life.

While JJM has been fulfilling its core duty of providing tap water connections to rural households, it recognised the significance of drinking water supply to schools.

JJM has launched a nationwide 100-day campaign on Oct 2, 2020 to provide assured tap water supply to every anganwadi centre, residential tribal school (ashramshala) and school, aiming to reduce vulnerability of children from water-borne diseases and prevailing COVID-19 pandemic.

So far, more than 5.14 lakh schools and 4.62 lakh anganwadi centres have started getting potable piped water supply. The campaign has been extended up to 31stMarch, 2021. Also, efforts are being made to ensure safe drinking water to all quality-affected villages especially Arsenic and Fluoride affected rural habitations under JJM.

The budgetary allocation for JJM has increased significantly to approximately ₹50,011 crore in the FY 2021-22 along with 15th Finance Commission tied grants of ₹36,022 crore, available to Panchayati Raj Institutions for ‘water and sanitation’ in 2021–22.

Read our earlier article: Towards Piped Water Connection to Each Household – These Figures and Clips Tell You the Story.