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.Secretary, Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation, Shri Parameswaran Iyer, in the keynote address, outlined the reforms undertaken in NRDWP to make it outcome-based, sustainable and put a significant part of the programme on challenge mode to encourage healthy competition between States. Joint Secretary (Water), Smt. Radha V, gave a presentation on proposals to further strengthen the NRDWP and special features of Swajal scheme and its implementation plan.