The Union Cabinet on Friday gave its approval to continuation and restructuring of National Rural Drinking Water Programme (NRDWP) to make it "outcome-based, competitive and better monitored" with Rs 23,050 crore outlay for the next three years.
An official release said the programme will also have increased focus on sustainability of schemes to ensure good quality service delivery to the rural population.
"A sum of Rs 23,050 crore has been approved for the programme for the Fourteenth Finance Commission (FFC) period 2017-18 to 2019-20," it said, adding the programme will cover the entire rural population across the country and the restructuring will make it flexible, result-oriented, competitive and will enable the ministry to reach the goal of increasing coverage of sustainable piped water supply.
It said NRDWP will continue co-terminus with the 14th Finance Commission cycle till March 2020.
With the restructuring of the NRDWP, there will be two percent earmarking of funds for Japanese Encephalitis (JE)/Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES) affected areas.
The release said that a new sub-programme under NRDWP viz. National Water Quality Sub-Mission (NWQSM) will address the urgent need for providing clean drinking water in about 28,000 arsenic and fluoride affected habitations which have already been identified.
The NWQSM aims to cover all rural population in arsenic/fluoride affected habitations with clean drinking water on a sustainable basis by March 2021.
The release also said the states have been given more flexibility in utilisation of NRDWP funds by reducing the number of components under the programme.
It said pre-financing for the agreed schemes will be reimbursed later and if a state fails to claim this amount before November 30 in the financial year the funds will become a part of the common pool, which will be released to the high performing states.
"Other half of second instalment of funds will be released to the states based on functionality status of completed piped water supply schemes, which will be evaluated through a third party," the release said.
As per the Integrated Management Information System of the Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation, about 77 percent of rural habitations in India have achieved a fully covered status (40 litres per capita per day), while 56 per cent of the rural population have access to tap water through public stand posts within which 16.7 percent have household connections.
NRDWP, a centrally Sponsored Scheme with 50:50 fund sharing between the Centre and the states, was started in 2009.
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