A Report by ‘Research Foundation for Science, Technology and Ecology’ for National Commission for Women, January, 2005, Page 134-149.
In order to give momentum to the drinking water supply programme, Government of India created a separate Department of Drinking Water Supply in 1999. In this context, the Ministry of Rural Development launched Sector Reform initiatives.
The “Swajaldhara” programme is an extension of these reform initiatives. According to the government, it is a very powerful step forward to provide drinking water to all water scarce villages in the shortest possible time and at least cost.
The key elements of this Scheme are that the rural people should feel the ownership and, therefore, contribute at least 10% of the capital expenditure of the Scheme upfront; and the communities and their Gram Panchayats must shoulder the Operation and Maintenance (O&M) responsibility of the Schemes.
Process for Implementation
The following processes, must be observed for effective implementation of the Scheme:- (Website, Ministry of Rural Development)
(i) The Gram Panchayat shall convene a Gram Sabha Meeting, where the Water Supply Scheme of People’s choice including design, cost etc., must be finalized.
(ii) A resolution must be passed in the Gram Panchayat meeting calling for users/beneficiaries to contribute 10% of the capital expenditure. The Gram Panchayat shall maintain the record of the Community contribution and issue necessary receipts to the contributor/user. The Gram Panchayat must also agree undertake the Operation & Maintenance (O&M) responsibility after the scheme is completed and taken over by them. The Executing Agency for the scheme should also be decided in the Gram Panchayat meeting i.e. whether the Panchayat wants to execute the scheme on its own or wants a State Government Agency to undertake the execution.
(iii) The Panchayat must also decide on the user charges to be collected from the community so that adequate funds are available with the Panchayat to undertake O&M.
(iv) The users’ contribution of 10% must be obtained from the maximum users/beneficiaries of the Scheme. At least 30% of the users/beneficiaries of the Scheme must contribute for the Scheme to be considered for sanction by the Department. Those Schemes will be sanctioned on priority, where the percentage of contributors is more.
(v) In case of a Beneficiary Group (BG), all members of the BG shall meet, consider the proposal including design and costs and pass resolutions before submission of the proposal to the Gram Panchayat.
Elements of Swajaldhara :- This will have the following elements: (i) demand-driven and community participation approach; (ii) Panchayats / communities to plan, implement, operate, maintain and manage all drinking water schemes; (iii) partial capital cost sharing by the communities upfront in cash; (iv) full ownership of drinking water assets with Gram Panchayats; and (v) full Operation and Maintenance (O&M) by the users / Panchayats.
States can implement Swajaldhara in Blocks / Gram Panchayats / Beneficiary Groups following all the fundamental reforms principles. This need not be taken up in the entire district at the initial stage, but may be extended subsequently. (BG) should be a registered Society and would submit proposal through Gram Panchayat or Block Panchayat as the case may be.
The Swajaldhara projects will be sanctioned by the Department of Drinking Water Supply for Ministry of Rural Development, Govt of India. If the proposals are found to have (a) the commitment of the concerned District Implementing Agency and the State Government for compliance of reform principles; (b) 10% of the estimated capital cost of the Schemes (5% in case of SC and ST Gram Panchayats / villages where 50% of the population is SC / and ST as per 2001 Census) is paid by the community, in cash, as their contribution to the Implementing Agency. The cost of the Project, excluding community contribution, will be fully met by Government of India.
Responsibilities of Swajaldhara Applicant
Block Panchayat / Gram Panchayat / Applicant / BG will be responsible for
● Execution of the sanctioned schemes;
● Place the progress of scheme implementation in each Gram Sabha meeting;
● Ensure community participation in scheme activities;
● Arrange community contribution towards capital cost, in cash;
● Open and manage bank accounts for management of project funds;
● Procure construction materials/goods and select contractors for construction activities;
● Supervise construction activities;
● Commission and takeover completed water supply works; and
● Collect funds, and manage O&M of water supply works.
Norms for Safe Drinking Water
The following norms are being adopted for providing safe drinking water to rural population in the habitations:
(a) 40 litres of safe drinking water per capita per day (lpcd) for human beings.
(b) 30 lpcd additional for cattle in the Desert Development Programme Areas.
(c) One hand-pump or stand post for every 250 persons
(d) The water source should exist within the habitation or within 1.6 km in the plains and within 100 mtrs elevation in the hilly areas.
The norms may, however, be relaxed to provide for 55 ltrs per capita per day with a source within 0.5 km in the plains and 50 metres elevation in the hills after the coverage of all NC/PC rural habitations in that State is achieved, as per the existing norms of 40 litres per capita per day. This relaxation is subject to the condition that beneficiaries of the relaxed norms share a part of the capital cost (which should not be less than 10%) and shoulder full responsibilities for subsequent Operation and Maintenance.
● The text of Swajaldhara is taken from the Website, Ministry of Rural Development, Government of India.
(II) STATISTICS ON WATER
Table (III)(2) Statewise Categorisation Of Over-Exploited And Dark Blocks/Taluks/ Mandals/Watersheds