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NEW DELHI: As part of India’s push for clean drinking tap water supply in northeastern states, Jal Shakti minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat is holding a one-day conference of Public Health Engineering Department (PHED) ministers of the eight states on Jal Jeevan Mission (JJM) on Thursday.

A total of 42.2% rural households have been provided with tap water connection since the launch of the marquee JJM in 2019. The Rs3.6 trillion mission aims to ensure assured tap water supply to all rural households, or ‘Har Ghar Jal’, by 2024, with several states also having committed to provide tap water connections to all rural households before 2024.

“Jal Jeevan Mission is a flagship programme of Union Government being implemented by Department of Drinking Water & Sanitation (DDWS), Ministry of Jal Shakti in partnership with States, to make provision of tap water connection to every rural household across country by 2024. The fund sharing pattern between Centre and State is 90:10 for NE States," the ministry said in a statement.

Minister Shekhawat has been tasked with providing tap water connections to all rural households under the JJM by 2024, drawing comparisons with the Ujjwala scheme.

“With Union Government’s undivided focus on the development of North-Eastern region of the country and to accelerate its all-round development, during financial year 2021-22, Rs. 9,262 crore has been allocated as central grant for NE States under Jal Jeevan Mission. The enhanced allocation as well as release of funds at this challenging time to provide tap water connections to rural homes in NE States, is expected to boost the economy of the region," the statement added.

In July 2019, the government had formed a new ministry, Jal Shakti, to address all water issues in the country. The Jal Shakti ministry was formed by integrating it with other existing ministries, such as water resources and the ministry of drinking water and sanitation.

“At the time of announcement of the mission, out of total 90.14 lakh rural households in NE States, only 2.83 lakh (3.13%) had tap water connection, which has now increased to about 22 lakh households (24.45%). About 20 lakh households have been given tap water connections in the last 24 months despite covid-19 pandemic and disruptions/ lockdowns. Meghalaya, Manipur and Sikkim aim to achieve the status of ‘Har Ghar Jal by 2022 while Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram, Nagaland and Tripura aim to provide tap water in every household by 2023 followed by Assam in 2024," the statement said.

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