A multi-disciplinary 10-member team from Jal Shakti Ministry is visiting Rajasthan from October 18 to 21 to review the progress of National Jal Jeevan Mission (NJJM) in five districts of Baran, Dausa, Jodhpur, Bhilwara, and Jaipur, an official statement said on Tuesday. The NJJM team will daily visit 3-5 villages in each district, and discuss various aspects of programme implementation and progress made under the mission by the state to understand the ground situation and assess the state’s preparedness to meet the saturation deadline for ensuring 100 per cent tap water supply to all rural households. “During the visit, the team will interact with district officials, local village community, members of Gram Panchayat and Pani Samitis. Thereafter, the team will debrief and share their observations with the district officials as well as senior officers of the state government,” the Jal Shakti Ministry release said. Rajasthan plans 100 per cent tap water connections to all rural households by 2024. However, out of its 1.01 crore rural households, only 11.74 lakh (11.59 per cent) had tap water supply as on August 15, 2019, when the Jal Jeevan Mission was announced. Despite lockdown and disruptions due to Covid-19 pandemic, in last two years, 9.48 lakh households (9.36 per cent) have been provided tap water connections. Today, 21.22 lakh rural homes (20.95 per cent) in the state have tap water supply. Rajasthan faces extreme water scarcity in many parts of the state as the desert and desert-prone areas receive scanty rainfall. The need for providing safe drinking water therefore becomes very important in the state. In 2020-21, Rs 2,522.03 crore Central grant was allocated to Rajasthan, but it could draw only Rs 630.51 crore due to slow pace of implementation. To assist the state, Union Jal Shakti Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, who hails from the state, has increased the Central allocation four-fold to the tune of Rs 10,180.50 crore for the mission’s implementation in the state during 2021-22. With enhanced Central allocation and matching state share, Rajasthan has no dearth of funds for water supply works, but is yet to draw the first tranche of Central allocation due to slow physical and financial progress. In addition, in 2021-22, Rs 1,712 crore has been allocated to Rajasthan as 15th Finance Commission tied grant for water and sanitation to rural local bodies/PRIs, and there is assured funding of Rs 9,032 crore up to 2025-26. Shekhawat has written to Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot emphasising that the work of providing tap water connection should start in all the villages to achieve the goal in a time-bound manner, and urged all out efforts be made to receive and utilise the entire Central grant-in-aid available.