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States using ‘safe drinking water fund’ in a trickle; 40% unspent

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on July 22, 2019 Published on July 22, 2019

The Centre disbursed ₹3,690.3 crore under the National Water Quality Sub-mission to 15 States, which spent only ₹1,985.6 crore   -  MA Sriram

Since FY17, States have spent ₹2,811 cr of ₹4,690 cr allotted

Nearly 40 per cent of the ₹4,690 crore allocated to States to provide safe drinking water in areas where arsenic and fluoride contamination is high has been lying unspent for the last three years, the Rajya Sabha was told on Monday.

The Centre released a total of ₹4,690.3 crore for providing safe drinking water in arsenic-and fluoride-affected places of the country, but States spent only ₹2,811.6 crore since 2016-17, according to data provided by the government in the Upper House.

Though drinking water supply is a State subject, the Centre has been providing financial assistance to States to supplement their efforts of providing safe drinking water under the National Rural Drinking Water Programme (NRDWP). The priority under this scheme is given to areas where the water quality is seriously affected.

Safe drinking water

The government launched a National Water Quality Sub-mission (NWQSM) under the NRDWP to provide safe drinking water to 27,544 rural habitats where arsenic and fluoride contamination of groundwater is rampant, said Minister of State for Jalashakti Rattan Lal Kataria.

Though the Centre disbursed ₹3,690.3 crore under the NWQSM to 15 States, only ₹1,985.6 crore was spent by them. West Bengal, which received the maximum of ₹1,305.7 crore, could spend only ₹552.4 crore. Most of the ₹330.96 crore given to Assam is lying unspent, with the North-East State utilising only ₹42 crore. Rajasthan and Telangana received ₹895.5 crore and ₹700 crore, respectively, but spent only ₹604 crore and ₹698 crore respectively.

One-time assistance

Besides, the government also provided a one-time assistance of ₹1,000 crore to 19 States for installing community water purification plants, as per the recommendation of NITI Aayog, but the States have utilised only ₹826 crore till date.

Published on July 22, 2019
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