The National Rural Drinking Water Programme has failed to achieve its target of supplying safe drinking water to all rural habitations by 2017, according to a report by the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) tabled in Parliament today.
The report said that though the programme envisaged that at least 50 per cent of the rural population will be provided piped water by 2017, the implementation was marked by lack of proper planning and poor funds management, leading to undue delays in completion of various schemes and cost overrun.
"The programme failed to achieve the targets that were set for achievement by 2017 to supply safe drinking water to all rural habitations, government schools and anganwadi. 50 per cent of rural population was to be provided potable drinking water and 35 per cent of rural households to be provided household connections.
"As of December 2017, only 44 per cent of rural habitations and 85 per cent of government schools and anganwadi could be provided access to safe drinking water, only 18 per cent of rural population provided potable drinking water by piped water supply and only 17 per cent of rural households were provided household connections," the report said.
The CAG report has pointed out that the failures to achieve the target was attributable partly to deficiencies in implementation such as incomplete, abandoned and non-operational works, unproductive expenditure on equipment, non-functional sustainability structures and gaps in contract management that had a total financial implication of Rs 2,212.44 crore.
The total financial implication of the audit findings works out to Rs2,875 crore, which was a very significant 15 per cent of the expenditure of Rs 19,151 crore, it said.
The report has also specified that the planning and delivery framework established at the Centre and in states deviated from the programme guidelines.
It has pointed out that 21 states did not frame water security plans and deficiencies were found in preparation and scrutiny of annual action plans such as lack of stakeholder and community participation, non-inclusion of minimum service level of water in schemes, and absence of approval of state level scheme sanctioning committee.
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