Unable to collect water tax in rural areas, MP govt falls back on woman power

More power to women!

After Panchayat members failed to collect water tax from villagers, the Madhya Pradesh government has entrusted the task to women Self-help groups so that the ‘Har Ghar Jal’ under the Union government’s Jal Jeevan Mission can be implemented effectively and efficiently.

The main reason the scheme could not be implemented properly was that Panchayat members were unable to collect water tax as the the former do not get expected support from the villagers.

Under the state government’s initiative, from collection of tax on water to the control of its supply, everything has been entrusted to women working in self-help groups operating in the state.

Umakant Umrao, Principal Secretary, MP Panchayat and Rural Development department, says his department has taken the help of self-help groups to strengthen and maintain the water supply in rural areas.

These self-help groups have given women the responsibility of collecting water tax as well as ensuring better water supply to villages. This initiative has been successfully working and is being implemented in the whole state.

There are various rural areas where women have to wait in queues for several hours to get water. While in many other areas, for a girl getting water is more important than going to school.

In rural areas, the primary responsibility to collect water for families lies with the women and they often suffer the most due to its scarcity.

Several schemes have been launched by the state government to provide access to tap water connections but due to non-recovery of water tax, there are severe electricity cuts and such schemes fail to benefit the people.

This initiative has been introduced because the members of these self-help groups are women and they understand the problem of water scarcity much better. They also recover water tax from people more effectively.

Abhilash Mishra, Chief Executive Officer of the Betul district panchayat, says that the recovery of water tax is tough for the panchayat workers in the villages since they face protests from the locals and even complaints are registered against them.

Therefore, the work of recovery of water tax has been given to self-help groups which has been hugely beneficial. The process of recovery of water tax is working smoothly due to which it has become easy for locals to deposit electricity bills, including several other bills.

As a result, people are availing of the benefit of ‘Har Ghar Nal Se Jal Yojana. The financial condition of women has greatly improved due to these self-help groups receiving upto 10 per cent of the total water tax recovery amount.

There are nearly 15,000 tap water projects operating in the state, of which about nearly 4,000 projects are being handed over to self-help groups. Earlier, up to 10 per cent water tax used to get collected but now it has reached up to 100 per cent.

The women associated with these self-help groups, who are responsible for collection of water tax, are now being imparted further training by the state government so that they become able to ensure timely water supply, repair water pipelines, among others.

20220410-174603

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