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Drinking water beyond rural India's reach: NSSO

More than half of the households in villages in the country had no drinking water facilities within their homes in 2012

Somesh Jha  |  New Delhi 

Safe drinking water, which appears in the manifestos of many political parties, is not within the reach of half the rural households, according to a recent National Sample Survey Office (NSSO) study.

According to the study, 54 per cent of rural households had no supply of at their homes in 2012. This was, however, a slight improvement compared to 2008-09 when 60 per cent did not have such amenities. The report was based on the 69th round of surveys, which covered a period of July-December, 2012 compared to the previous report based on the 65th round covering July 2008 to June 2009.

Supply of free water up to 700 litres a day to every household was among the promises of the (AAP) during the campaign for the Delhi elections.

In urban areas, 23 per cent of households had no access to potable water at homes in 2012. The earlier survey had shown 26 per cent households in urban areas as not having such a facility.

Amitabh Kundu, chairperson of the working group of the latest report, said, “This is a matter of some concern.”

In as many as 15 of 28 states, less than half of the households in villages had a water supply. As a result, large number of people in Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Odisha and West Bengal had to walk at least half a kilometer to get

Kundu said the percentage of households who had to travel between 0.2 to 0.5 km to fetch potable water did not go down in rural areas and in urban areas it went up between the two surveys.

Mihir Shah, a member of Planning Commission and co-founder of Samaj Pragati Sahayog (SPS), an initiative for water and livelihood security, said a paradigm shift is required in water management in India.

Shah said there are new proposals in the 12th Five-Year Plan in this regard. A note written by Shah says: “Waste water treatment and recycling will be an integral part of every water supply plan or project. The 12th Five-Year Plan will focus on this in human settlements based on a strategy that is both affordable and sustainable.”

First Published: Sat, December 28 2013. 20:55 IST