New Delhi: Elections in India not only get you a free Covid vaccine but the state gets added attention in implementation of central schemes such as the Jal Jeevan Mission. No wonder then that Bihar is the second highest in the country when it comes to new tap water connectivity in the last one year alone. Telangana tops the list where too the BJP is making aggressive inroads.
Under the Central scheme, the Prime Minister announced last year on independence Day that he wants every household of India to have tap water facility. The government called it ‘Jal Jeevan Mission’. The government had an outlay of Rs 3,50,000 crore (roughly $50 billion) for the PM’s pet project.
While some states have virtually made no progress, some have done average.
Then there are states and UTs which have fared well. But the progress of Bihar stands out which had just 1.68% households with tap water connection. As of today, just a couple of days ahead of the first phase of Bihar polls, the state has 57.11% households with tap water connections.
This is a jump of 55.43%. Leave aside Telangana, no state or Union teritory has seen such a jump. For instance, Madhya Pradesh has seen a 8.66% jump, Uttar Pradesh has seen 3.66% jump and Gujarat has seen 10.29% jump. All these states are BJP ruled. While one may argue that Gujarat had already better tap water connection to begin with, Uttar Pradesh is one of the worst performers with just 5.62% households having this facility as we speak and hence a scope of much to be done.
Yet it is Bihar which fares unexpectedly better. However Congress’s Shakeel Ahmed claims, more than the Centre’s focus on it due to election this year, the scheme has been an “eye wash” as there’s a mismatch between the reality and the claims, according to him.
Just a few days back, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman stirred up a row when she announced free Covid-19 vaccine for residents of Bihar if they re-elect the BJP.
Now, Bihar faring second best in last one year for PM’s pet project when BJP-ruled states like Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and PM’s home state Gujarat could only fare a miniscule fraction of it, has left people wondering whether it is the election that got Bihar all the attention.