Less than 2% of rural households in Bihar and Jharkhand have access to piped drinking water

Tina Ediwn | Updated on: Nov 27, 2019

The Centre’s Jal Jeevan Mission, which aims to provide tapwater connections to all rural households by 2024, will struggle to meet its objectives in these States

The Jal Jeevan Mission announced by the Union government last Independence Day to provide tap connections to all households in rural areas by 2024, may face its toughest challenge in States such as Bihar, Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh and Assam, where less than 10 per cent of such homes have access to piped water. This is way lower than the national average of 32.9 per cent of the rural households reporting access to piped water, within homes, yards or from community taps.

Handpumps and tube-wells were the primary sources of drinking water for many rural households in these States and that essentially means these people were drinking untreated and often unsafe water.

Bihar, UP a concern

The recently released report on Drinking Water, Sanitation, Hygiene and Housing Conditions in India by the National Statistical Office found that 94.3 per cent of rural households in Bihar and 87.8 per cent in Uttar Pradesh sourced their drinking water from handpumps. Tubewells were a source of drinking water for 2.9 per cent of rural households in Bihar and 6.1 per cent in Uttar Pradesh. Thus, 97.2 per cent of rural households in Bihar and 93.9 per cent of such households were drawing drinking water from handpumps or tubewells.

Also read: Two-thirds of Indian households drink untreated and unsafe water, just about 8% boil it


Only 1.7 per cent of rural households in Bihar and 3.8 per cent of households in Uttar Pradesh had access to piped drinking water. The report is based on surveys carried out between July and December 2018.

The Jal Jeevan Mission aims to provide functional household tap connections to 14.60 crore households in rural areas by 2024. The Union government has estimated that the mission would involve an expenditure of ₹3.60 lakh crore.

Eastern States also behind

The share of households with access to piped water was no better in many other States in the eastern parts of the country. In Jharkhand, too, just about 1.7 per cent of rural households had access to piped drinking water and the corresponding number for Assam was 8.1 per cent.

The National Statistics Office (NSO) report showed that well over 70 per cent of rural households in West Bengal, Jharkhand and Odisha drew water from hand pumps or tubewells, with the share of tubewells at 32.2 per cent in Assam and about 21 per cent in West Bengal and Chhattisgarh.

Kerala surprise

Significantly, Kerala, which ranks high on the human development index, also performed badly in providing piped water to rural households, with close to 77 per cent of the households drawing their drinking water from wells. But it could very well be that many of these homes draw water for drinking and washing from their private wells through pipes and taps that go into their kitchens and bathrooms.

Goa topper

Among the States that have a large share of rural households with access to piped drinking water are Goa, with 96 per cent, Tamil Nadu with 89.3 per cent and Himachal Pradesh with 84.2 per cent.

The share of the rural population in the National Capital with access to piped water was estimated at a shade under 55 per cent, and the national average for rural areas was estimated at 32.9 per cent.

Published on November 26, 2019
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