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National Rural Drinking Water Programme

National Rural Drinking Water Programme

National Rural Drinking Water Programme

National Rural Drinking Water Programme was introduced in the year 2009 as a Centrally sponsored scheme that provides financial and technical assistance to the State Governments for providing safe drinking water to rural inhabitants. It serves to provide safe and adequate drinking water for drinking, cooking and other domestic needs to every rural person on a sustainable basis. Recently, the Union Cabinet, chaired by the Prime Minister, approved the continuation and restructuring of the initiative to make it outcome-based, competitive and better monitored by laying focus on sustainability of schemes to ensure good quality service delivery to the rural populous. This article provides in-depth coverage of the scheme.

National Goal

The initiative has been established with the objective of providing every rural person with safe drinking water, cooking and other domestic essentials on a sustainable basis. It seeks to cater to the requirement of minimum water quality standards. It targets to cover all quality affected and other habitations and households so as to provide them with safe and adequate drinking water supply.

To achieve the above objectives, the following framework has been devised:

  • To provide safe and adequate drinking water supply to underserved, partially served and slipped back habitations.
  • To provide portable drinking water to habitations affected by water quality.
  • To encourage states in achieving drinking water security at the local level.
  • To perform regular support activities.
  • To help areas covered under the Desert Development Programme (DDP) in tackling the extreme conditions of low rainfall and poor water availability.
  • To mitigate drinking water issues in rural areas in the event of natural calamities.

Funding Pattern

Funds under the initiative are allocated to States based on the following criteria:

  1. Rural population
  2. Rural SC and ST population
  3. Desert, drought-prone and hilly areas
  4. The extent of devolution of the scheme management to Panchayats

Water Quality Monitoring & Surveillance

Water Quality Monitoring and Surveillance was launched as a part of this programme in February 2006, with a funding of 3%. It is aimed at:

  • Empowering the rural communities by creating awareness through Information, Education and Communication (IEC) activities to address ownership of the system.
  • Imparting training to five grass root workers in each Gram Panchayat, who could be ASHA workers, Anganwadi workers, science teachers, high school girl children, panchayat member, retired army officials, etc. The training will also be extended to 5 Gram Panchayat workers, 2 persons at the State level, 4 persons at the district and 5 at the block level.

The Latest Directives

The scheme is now restructured with the following directives:

  1. It will continue co-terminus with the 14th Finance Commission cycle till March 2020.
  2. 2% of the funds have been allocated for areas affected by Japanese Encephalitis (JE) and Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES).
  3. A sub-program, known as National Water Quality Sub-Mission (NWQSM) has been initiated by the Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation in February 2017, to cater to the need of clean water in about 28,000 Arsenic and Fluoride affected habitations (already identified).
  4. Pro-financing for the agreed schemes will be made by the State Government, which will later be reimbursed from the central funding.
  5. The Other half of the second instalment of funds would be released to the States on the basis of the functional status of completely piped water supply schemes, which is to be evaluated through a third party.
  6. The Cabinet has approved a sum of INR 23,050 crore for the programme for the FFC period 2017-18 to 2019-20.
  7. Focus will be laid on piped water supply, enhanced service delivery, coverage of water quality affected habitations and Open Defecation Free (OPF) declared villages, SAGY GPs, Integrated Action Plan (IAP), districts, Border Out Posts (BOP) with piped water supply and Institutional set up for proper O&M of water supply asset etc.