Jul 10

India: Access to Drinking Water and Sanitation 2019

In the 2018 budget, the Rajya Sabha has decided to focus more on the four departments out of which Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation is one of them. Let us focus on some facts and schemes implemented by the government.

The constitution says that the supply of water and sanitation varies from state to state. The state regulate and provide these types of services. The primary responsibility of Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation is to plan policy, fund the policy and coordinate the programs that include (a) Clean and safe drinking water & (b) sanitation practices in rural areas. At present, the government has two plans which are National Rural Drinking Water Programme (NRDWP) and Swachh Bharat Mission Gramin (SBM-G).

The ministry has been allocated around INR 22,345 crores in the union budget of 2018-19. In comparison, to 2017-18 expense, the amount has been reduced down by INR 1,654 Cr which is a downfall of around 7%. In 2016-17 the budget was INR 14,004 crores. In the past few years, the mission is to provide sanitation facilities in village areas and increasing the use of toilets to eliminate defecating in public.

On 2nd of October 2014, the mission Swachh Bharat was launched. The mission was to eliminate defecating in the open, universal coverage of sanitation, and improved cleanliness in the country. This mission was to achieve its target by 2 October 2019. The funds allocated to Swachh Bharat Mission Gramin (SBM-G) for 2018-19 is about INR 15,343 crores If we calculate the total amount which was funded to SBM-G from 2014 till date,it will be about INR 1,00,447 crores.

To make the individual household latrines (IHHLs), the requisite amount of funds have already been allocated to the state and centre in the ratio of 60:40. The positive part is that the numbers of toilets and latrines in individual households have substantially increased every year. Although, the growth of these toilets have decreased rapidly. In 2016-17 the number of bathrooms constructed was reduced by 156% as compared to 2015-16. One of the reasons behind this could that 2015-16 were the initial years this implantation was implemented from.

The mission of National Rural Drinking Water Programme (NRDWP) is to provide clean and safe drinking water in the villages and rural areas of the country. The funds allocated to this scheme in 2018-19 were about INR 7,000 crores which is 31 percent of the total accounting of the finance department of Ministry.

The dependency of the NRDWP is on the groundwater. As per the reports, the groundwater of more than 20 states is contaminated. These states include Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Punjab, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, West Bengal, Manipur, Assam, and Karnataka. After the examination, it was declared that the contaminated water was increasing because of the thick drilling of the water resources for drinking purpose.

The best water laboratories to check the quality of water is recommended all over the country. Furthermore, we should wisely use the water resources available to us and not take these natural resources for granted. A time will come where all the water resources will cease to exist.

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We are a team of fresh graduates and seasoned professionals including research scholars and professors of Chemistry with 20+ years of experience in the domain.