A National Consultation on the National Rural Drinking Water Programme (NRDWP) and Swajal was held in the Capital today to discuss the reforms needed in NRDWP and to outline a road map for the Swajal scheme. The consultation was chaired by the Union Minister of Drinking Water and Sanitation, Sushri Uma Bharti. The Minister of State for Drinking Water and Sanitation, Shri Ramesh Jigajinagi, was also present. Ministers-in-charge of Drinking Water from 13 States, including Assam, Bihar, Goa, Gujarat, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir, Maharashtra, Manipur, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand, attended the consultation and gave their views on the reforms needed in the ongoing Centrally-sponsored drinking water schemes being implemented in the respective states.
Union Minister for Drinking Water and Sanitation announced that Swajal schemes in 115 aspirational districts of the country will involve an outlay of Rs 700 crores through flexi-funds under the existing NRDWP budget. These schemes will aim to provide villages with piped water supply powered by solar energy. The scheme will train hundreds of rural technicians for operation and maintenance of Swajal units. The Minister spoke about the relevance of Swajal in remote rural areas in the aspirational districts of the country.
The Minister also announced the modernisation of 2000 water quality testing laboratories spread across the country. She urged the State Ministers to closely monitor the functioning of the water laboratories so as to ensure safe drinking water for rural Indians. She further said that Rs.1000 crores will be earmarked for addressing the drinking water needs of 27,544 arsenic and fluoride affected habitations of the country in this financial year under the National Water Quality Sub-Mission (NWQSM). She also highlighted the importance of rain water harvesting and water conservation, announcing that a special communication campaign will be taken up in the country to create awareness on the same. Further, she called upon the States to ensure that the Sustainable Development Goal ‘safe drinking water for all’ is achieved in India by 2030.
Swajal is a community owned drinking water programme for sustained drinking water supply.
Under the scheme, 90% of the project cost will be taken care by the Government and the remaining 10% of the project cost will be contributed by the community. The Operations and management of the project will be taken care by the local villagers.
The NRDWP was started in 2009, with a major emphasis on ensuring sustainability (source) of water availability in terms of potability, adequacy, convenience, affordability and equity. NRDWP is a Centrally Sponsored Scheme with 50: 50 fund sharing between the Centre and the States.