launched National Water Quality Sub Mission on Arsenic and Fluoride to
provide safe drinking water to about 28,000 affected habitations in the
country by March 2021 with an outlay of Rs 25,000 crore. Inaugurating
the mission here in collaboration with the States, the Union Minister
for Rural Development, Drinking Water and Sanitation and Panchayati Raj
Shri Narendra Singh Tomar said that while West Bengal is badly affected
by the problem of arsenic, Rajasthan suffers from presence of fluoride
in drinking water with serious health hazards. He said, there are about
17 lakh 14 thousand rural habitations in India, of which about 77
percent have been provided with safe drinking water of more than 40
liters per person per day and about 4 percent of the habitations are
suffering from problems of water quality. The Minister assured the
participating delegates that there will be no discrimination of funds
against any state to address the twin challenges of drinking water and
sanitation. Ministers of Drinking Water and Sanitation from 12 States
participated in the National Workshop on Water for All and Swachh Bharat.
Shri Tomar said that Government is committed to providing tap water on a
sustained basis in every household by 2030 as per the United Nations
Sustainable Development Goals for which Rs 23,000 crore of central fund
will be required annually till the target is achieved. The Minister said
that the dream of ‘Har Ghar Jal’ cannot be realized without the
involvement of the citizens. He said that there are about 2,000 Blocks
in the country with an acute shortage of surface and ground water
sources and called for conservation of water on war footing through
convergence of schemes like MGNREGA.
Dwelling on the issue of Swachhta, Shri Tomar said that sanitation
coverage has increased from 42 percent to 62 percent since the launch of
the Swachh Bharat Mission, SBM in October 2014. He said, apart from
Sikkim, Himachal Pradesh and Kerala which are ODF (Open Defecation Free)
States, 4 to 5 more States can become ODF in next six months. So far,
119 districts and 1.75 lakh villages have become ODF and the Centre has
announced to incentivize the states for their timely progress. The
Minister informed that since the launch of the SBM, more than 3.6 Crore
toilets have been constructed in the rural areas and 16.41 lakh toilets
were constructed under MGNREGA. He said, when we are seeking to
transform India into a 21st century economic giant: open defecation and
garbage cannot be part of this vision.
Shri Tomar along with the Minister of State for Drinking Water and
Sanitation Shri Ramesh Jigajinagi launched Water APP on the occasion.
The Minister also gave away prizes to various state governments for
exemplary work done in the areas of sanitation and drinking water.