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National Rural Drinking Water Programme

The deficiencies which have been noticed in the implementation of the National Rural Drinking Water Programme (NRDWP) in some States include the non-achievement of annual targets of coverage of rural habitations, especially quality affected habitations, and the inadequate utilisation of central funds in time resulting in high unspent balances. The reasons for some States not fully achieving the annual targets of coverage of habitations, include high capital costs of large multi-village schemes to bring water from distant safe sources, time taken for planning, designing, sanctioning, procuring, execution and commissioning of such schemes, lowering of ground water table, drinking water sources becoming contaminated due to natural and man-made causes, slipping back of habitations to partially covered or quality affected status due to drying up of drinking water sources, water supply systems outliving their life; systems working below rated capacities; poor operation and management of systems; increase in population and emergence of new habitations and procurement issues.

The reasons for some States being unable to spend the available funds under NRDWP fully and in time, include delays in procurement processes, taking up multi-village schemes that require 2-3 years for completion thus delaying expenditure, delays in preparatory activities, long time taken for completion of legal formalities including obtaining various clearances, delayed release of funds to implementing authorities etc.

Under the NRDWP, various mechanisms have been put in place to monitor the activities at different levels. The State Governments are required to prepare and discuss with the Ministry, an Annual Action Plan to implement various components and activities of the NRDWP. Every year, the States have to mark the habitations targeted for coverage and provide details of works, schemes and activities being taken up, on the on-line Integrated Management Information System (IMIS) of the Ministry. The physical and the financial progress being made by States have to be reported on a monthly basis on the IMIS. The Ministry monitors the information provided regularly, and States which are lagging behind in the implementation of the programme, both in terms of physical achievements and financial expenditure, are advised to take appropriate corrective measures. Senior Officers, Area Officers and Technical Officers of the Ministry tour the States to assess the progress in the implementation of the Programme. The Ministry also conducts meetings of the Secretaries in charge of rural water supply, regional review meetings, video-conferences, etc. through which implementation of NRDWP is monitored.

Shri Bharatsinh Solanki, Minister of State (Independent Charge) in the Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation gave this information in reply to a question in the Lok Sabha today. He said that assessment of achievements is done through periodic evaluations of the programme by his Ministry and the Planning Commission.

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