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Social Justice

State of Water Supply in Schools and Anganwadis

  • 09 Mar 2021
  • 5 min read

Why in News

According to information provided to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Water Resources, only half of government schools and anganwadis have tap water supply, despite a 100-day campaign for 100% coverage being launched by the Jal Shakti Ministry in October 2020.

Key Points

  • About the Campaign:
    • The campaign aims to provide potable piped water supply for drinking and cooking purposes and tap water for hand washing and in toilets in every school, anganwadi and ashramshala or residential tribal school.
    • It was launched on 2nd October, 2020 (Gandhi Jayanti).
    • The 100-day period should have ended on 10th January, 2021.
    • However, some States/ UTs have indicated that they need more time to complete the task and sustain the efforts. Therefore, the campaign has been extended till 31st March, 2021.
  • Related Observations:
    • As of now, only 48.5% of anganwadis and 53.3% of schools had tap water supply.
    • Less than 8% of schools in Uttar Pradesh and 11% in West Bengal have it, while it is available in only 2-6% of anganwadis in Assam, Jharkhand, U.P., Chhattisgarh and Bengal.
    • Seven States - Andhra Pradesh, Goa, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Telangana and Punjab - achieved 100% coverage.
    • Around 1.82 lakh grey water management structures and 1.42 lakh rainwater harvesting structures were also constructed in schools and anganwadi centres.
  • Health Issues of Children Emanating from Contaminated Water:
    • Children are more susceptible to water borne diseases (Diarrhea, Cholera, Typhoid), more so, when there is also a need for repeated washing of hands as a precautionary measure during the pandemic.
    • Other nutritional issues and the health hazards emerge in children from on account of lack of potable drinking water.
  • About Jal Jeevan Mission:
    • Jal Jeevan Mission (JJM) envisages supply of 55 litres of water per person per day to every rural household through Functional Household Tap Connections (FHTC) by 2024.
    • JJM focuses on integrated demand and supply-side management of water at the local level.
      • Creation of local infrastructure for source sustainability measures as mandatory elements, like rainwater harvesting, groundwater recharge and management of household wastewater for reuse, would be undertaken in convergence with other government programmes/schemes.
    • The Mission is based on a community approach to water and includes extensive Information, Education and Communication as a key component of the mission.
    • JJM looks to create a jan andolan for water, thereby making it everyone’s priority.
    • Funding Pattern: The fund sharing pattern between the Centre and states is 90:10 for Himalayan and North-Eastern States, 50:50 for other states, and 100% for Union Territories.
    • In the Budget 2021-22, Jal Jeevan Mission (Urban) has been announced under the Housing and Urban Affairs Ministry to provide universal coverage of water supply to all households through functional taps in all statutory towns in accordance with Sustainable Development Goal- 6.
  • Suggestions:
    • The Standing Committee noted that mere provision of tap connection without ensuring assured availability of water in the pipeline would not serve the purpose and would defeat the very objective of JJM.
    • It called for real-time monitoring of water supply at the district level.
    • The centre government should take measures to set up water purification or reverse osmosis (RO) plants on an urgent basis so that children do not suffer due to contamination of drinking water.

Grey water

  • Grey water is defined as wastewater that is produced from household processes (e.g. washing dishes, laundry and bathing).
  • Grey water can contain harmful bacteria and even faecal matter that contaminates soil and groundwater.


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