Jal Jeevan Mission's primary output is to provide all rural households with a Functional Household Tap Connection (FHTC) by 2024. In parallel, the Mission also strives to achieve 4 key measurable outcomes such as improved health conditions of rural communities; reduction in drudgery faced by women and girls and empowerment of women, reduced school dropout rates of upper primary level girls; and increase in employment opportunities for rural communities. Such an approach would ensure socio-economic wellbeing of rural households.
Jal Jeevan Mission is a time-bound mission-mode programme and needs robust institutional framework for its successful implementation to achieve the stated goal. Hence, a four-tier institutional mechanism is to be set up at National, State, District and Village level.
Post-independence at the time of launch of India's planned development, the Environmental Hygiene Committee recommended a programme to provide safe water supply to all villages within a certain period as part of First Five Year Plan (1951-56). For this purpose, the National Water Supply Programme was launched in 1954, under the health sector. Until the Third Five Year Plan (1961-66), drinking water supply in the rural areas was a component of the Community Development Programme. This effort was supplemented by the Ministry of Health under the then National Water Supply and Sanitation Programme. In 1972-73, Accelerated Rural Water Supply Programme (ARWSP) was launched to supplement the efforts of State Governments, especially in areas of acute scarcity and those endemic to water borne diseases. The programme gained further momentum during the Fifth Five Year Plan (1974-79) under the Minimum Needs Programme.
In 1986, the National Drinking Water Mission (NDWM), popularly known as the Technology Mission was launched in order to provide scientific input and cost effective technological solutions to address water scarcity. In the Eighth Plan (1992-97), Sub-missions for tackling quality problem i.e., habitations suffering from excess Arsenic, Fluoride, Iron, salinity, scarcity of water sources, and requiring sustainability of the sources & the systems, were taken up.
In 1999-2000, decentralized, demand-driven, community-managed sector reforms were undertaken involving Gram Panchayats/ local community in planning, implementation and management of drinking water schemes. This was later scaled up as Swajaldhara in 2002 and was implemented till 2007-08.
In 2004-05, ARWSP became part of Bharat Nirman aiming at full coverage of habitations by 2008-09. The ARWSP was implemented till the year 2008-09 of Eleventh Plan (2007-12). In 2009-10, it was modified and renamed as National Rural Drinking Water Programme (NRDWP) with major emphasis on ensuring sustainability of water availability in terms of potability, adequacy, convenience, affordability and equity, on a sustainable basis, adopting decentralized approach involving Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs) and community organizations.
In 2013, certain changes were introduced in NRDWP, viz. i.) providing focus on pipe water supply schemes; ii.) wherever possible, enhancing service level from 40 lpcd to 55 lpcd; iii.) providing greater thrust on water quality and Japanese Encephalitis-Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (JE-AES) affected districts; iv.) waste water treatment, recycling; and v.) O&M of ageing schemes. In 2017, NRDWP was restructured to i.) make it more competitive, result-oriented and outcome-based; ii.) provide flexibility to states while implementing the programme by reducing its components; and iii.) providing piped water supply with the only exception allowed in JE-AES affected districts.
The 14th Finance Commission (2015-2020) recognized health, education, drinking water and sanitation as of national importance and defined the sustainable drinking water supply systems as those being operated under a formal management model, have 100% household meters installed and whose net revenues from water tariffs and subsidies are sufficient to cover at least the O&M costs of the system'. It has also recommended 100% metering of individual connections in both rural and urban households, commercial establishments and institutions and individual connections be provided only when functional water meters are installed.