Investment in India’s Jal Jeevan Mission yields remarkable results, saving lives and transforming communities
A groundbreaking report released by the World Health Organization (WHO) highlights the significant impact of India’s ‘Har Ghar Jal’ program in improving public health and generating substantial economic savings. The report emphasizes the transformative role of safe drinking water in saving lives, empowering women and girls, and enhancing the overall quality of life. Dr. V K Paul, Member (Health), NITI Aayog, praised the program for its direct and comprehensive impact on individuals and families, both physically and financially.
The report estimates that ensuring universal access to safe drinking water could avert nearly 400,000 diarrheal disease deaths and result in estimated cost savings of up to $101 billion.
The report estimates that ensuring safely managed drinking water for all households in India could prevent nearly 400,000 deaths caused by diarrheal diseases and avert approximately 14 million Disability Adjusted Life Years (DALYs) related to these diseases. These achievements would lead to estimated cost savings of up to $101 billion. The analysis focuses on diarrheal diseases as they account for the majority of disease burden associated with water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) issues.
Dr. Rajiv Bahl, Secretary, Department of Health Research, Director General, Indian Council of Medical Research, praised the Jal Jeevan Mission’s significant multiplier effect on health, highlighting the positive outcomes of the government’s investment. The report underscores the urgent need to address diarrheal diseases and emphasizes the potential for substantial gains in both public health and economic well-being.
The report sheds light on the challenging water supply situation in rural areas before 2019, with a significant portion of the population lacking access to improved drinking-water sources. Unsafe drinking water, along with inadequate sanitation and hygiene, contributed to 1.4 million deaths and 74 million DALYs globally in 2019. This analysis underscores the critical importance of addressing these issues and the potential for far-reaching benefits.
The ‘Har Ghar Jal’ report highlights the tremendous time and effort saved for women and girls through the provision of tap water. Women in India spent an average of 45.5 minutes daily collecting water in 2018. With universal coverage through tap water provision, the need for daily water collection efforts would be eliminated, resulting in significant time and energy savings.
Smt. Vini Mahajan, Secretary, Department of Drinking Water and Sanitation, Ministry of Jal Shakti, highlighted the remarkable progress of the Jal Jeevan Mission, with rural tap water connections increasing from 16.64% in 2019 to 62.84% within a span of 41 months. This represents an average annual increase of 13.5% compared to the previously meager 0.23% per annum.