Turn off the tap of urban bias in rural development

Source: The post is based on the article “Turn off the tap of urban bias in rural development” published in The Hindu on 22nd February 2023.

Syllabus: GS 2 – Governance

Relevance: reasons behind increasing urban rural disparity

News: The article discusses the increasing urban and rural disparity and the performance of Jal Jeevan Mission (JJM) in Tamil Nadu.

What are the reasons behind increasing urban rural disparity?

Biased Policies: The disparity has increased due to bias policies made by government and institutions for urban areas.

Spill-over effect: It refers to the development of rural areas which is dependent on larger urban areas.

Hence, rural areas which are far away from the urban areas not only suffer from a lack of development but also keep falling behind rural areas which are closer to the urban areas.

Therefore, the Jal Jeevan Mission (JJM) was launched by the government to reduce the disparity amongst the rural urban areas in access to tap water.

What is JJM?

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The safe drinking water under JJM will a) improve health and nutrition and b) reduce the workload of women and girl children while ensuring their safety.

Further, “availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all” is the sixth goal in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the United Nations to be achieved by 2030.

Moreover, the progress of JJM in ensuring safe tap water in rural areas of Tamil Nadu has also been influenced by urban factors.

What has been the performance of JJM in Tamil Nadu?

The data for 2022 reveal that there has been variation in the district wise coverage of tap water in Tamil Nadu.

For example, rural households in Kanchipuram, Ranipet, Vellore have better coverage of JJM, while rural households in Dharmapuri, Kallakurichi, Nagappatinam districts have not enough tap water connections.

It was found that the progress of JJM was better in those districts that have better percentage of urban population and districts with low urban population percentages were lagging in the implementation of the JJM.

Hence, it shows that urban rural bias exists even in accessing the basic facilities like tap water.

What can be the course of action?

The government must take additional measures to prioritise the implementation of the JJM scheme in districts with a high rural population in order to reach the goal of JJM.

This will not only help to correct urban bias but also meet the SDG goal with regard to tapping water connections by 2024.

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