Opportunity amid Adversity

Opportunity amid Adversity

Clean water for every Indian household has been a prime agenda point of the Indian Government. To this end, the Jal Jeevan Mission was announced on August 15, 2019. It aims to provide clean drinking water to all as well as augment local water resources and promote desalination programmes. In Budget ...

Clean water for every Indian household has been a prime agenda point of the Indian Government. To this end, the Jal Jeevan Mission was announced on August 15, 2019. It aims to provide clean drinking water to all as well as augment local water resources and promote desalination programmes. In Budget 2020, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced that the Jal Jeevan Mission was being allocated Rs 3.6 trillion, of which the upcoming fiscal will see Rs 115 billion being pumped in. Progress report In just seven months of 2019-20 (September 2019 to March 2020), around 84.83 lakh rural households have been provided with tap connections. However, during the last week of March 2020, the COVID-19 related lockdown was implemented across India and all work (related to infrastructure and development) almost came to a standstill. Everyone had expected the pace of providing piped connections to also get severely affected. And so it was during the Lockdown-1 period. However, the tide turned, and how! If the number of connections provided during the COVID-19 period are anything to go by, since Unlock1, about 45 lakh tap connections have been provided so far in 2020-21. In simple terms, about 1 lakh households are being provided with tap connections every day, which indicates the ‘speed’. Little wonder then, that these surprising figures could give rise to questions about actual implementation. Thus, to ensure transparency, every asset created under the mission is being geo-tagged and connections are being linked with the Aadhar of the ‘head of the household’. If someone wants to explore further, a dashboard indicating the progress of the mission, up to the district level, has been created and is available on the ministry’s website.How could this be achieved? Regarding work progress, Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, Jal Shakti Minister, has reportedly stated that as soon as Lockdown 1 was over, water-related works were allowed. In March, when the lockdown was imposed, the ministry did as much work on the table as it could with states. This included approving state and district action plans and completing detailed project reports. As reported, the ministry used the lockdown to ensure that all such work was completed, after which the momentum picked up. After the mission came into being, states were requested to undertake a revalidation exercise of baseline data, as per which there are 19.04 crore rural households in the country, of which 3.23 crore households are already provided tap connections. The remaining 15.81 crore households are to be provided with tap connections. Thus, the objective is to cover about 16 crore households in a timebound manner while ensuring the functionality of already provided connections. This means 3.2 crore households are to be covered every year; i.e. approximately 88,000 tap connections are to be provided on a daily basis. As for the timeline of implementation, Shekhawat reportedly mentioned that the ministry is committed to the deadline announced by the Prime Minister to reach its goal by 2024; and states are on board for the same as well. Funding scenario A recent PIB release states that with this goal in mind, states and Union Territories are working hard to provide tap connections to every rural household. In this endeavour, Bihar, Telangana, Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh lead with excellent performance. In 2020-21, a sum of Rs 235 billion has been allocated for the implementation of the Jal Jeevan Mission. At present, more than Rs 80 billion of central funds is available with the states and Union Territories for the implementation of the mission. Apart from this, the mission is exploring partnerships with reputed national and international agencies, including UN agencies, NGOs, CBOs, CSR organisations, trusts and foundations. The Government hopes that water will turn into the next people’s movement and will become everyone’s business, a transformational change for the sector that has hitherto been seen as only a public-sector responsibility. To make water everyone’s business, the mission strives to build partnerships and work together with various institutions and individuals to achieve drinking water security for all. On May 1, 2020, this year, India had 56 per cent more water compared to the same period last year. The opportunities The Jal Jeevan mission represents an immense opportunity for villagers and state governments. There will be a lot of work in villages in terms of adding wells, ponds and trenches and laying pipelines. The scheme intends not just to provide tap water but generate employment opportunities in each and every village. Just like the social side, the commercial side, too, has been well thought through. The Government has adopted a hybrid annuity model (HAM) for rejuvenation of the Ganga. Under this model, whoever constructs the project will be responsible for its maintenance for 15 years. The Government will give 40 per cent payment upfront and the remaining 60 per cent along with interest and operational expenditure will be given in annuity every six months or a year. This provides a good opportunity for players in the water management and treatment business.Opportunities for different segments from the total budget allocated for Jal Jeevan MissionLeading players (who stand as major beneficiaries) in the Jal Jeevan Mission EPC & civil work Pipes Pumps/motors L&T Astral Poly Technik V Guard Industries Thermax Supreme Industries Kirloskar Brothers Dilip Buildcon Finolex Industries KSB Pumps NCC Jindal Saw Dynamitic Technologies KNR Constructions Tata Metalics WPIL Gayatri Projects Surya Roshni Shakti Pumps HG Infra Engineering Srikalashasthi Pipe Crompton Greaves Va Tech Wabag Prince Pipes Shriram EPC Ion Exchange (India) Chembond Chemicals  

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