The Government of India launched the Accelerated Rural Water Supply Programme (ARWSP) in 1972-73 to ensure provision of adequate drinking water supply to the rural community through the Public Health Engineering System.
The second generation programme started with the launching of Technology Mission in 1986-87, renamed in 1991-92 as Rajiv Gandhi National Drinking Water Mission. Stress on water quality, appropriate technology intervention, human resource development support and other related activities were introduced in the rural water supply sector.
The third generation programme started in 1999-2000 when sector reform projects evolved to involve community in planning, implementation and management of drinking water related schemes, later scaled up as Swajaldhara in 2002.
The Rural Water Supply (RWS) sector has now entered the fourth phase with major emphasis on ensuring sustainability of water availability in terms of potability, adequacy, convenience, affordability and equity while also adopting decentralized approach involving PRIs and community organizations.
The RWS norms and guidelines need to be flexible and broad-based for facilitating the community for planning RWS projects based on the principle of demand responsive planning rather than adoption of universal norms and standards. Based on these considerations, the ARWSP has been modified as National Rural Drinking Water Programme (NRDWP) for the Eleventh Plan period.
This policy document by the Ministry of Rural Development (Department of Drinking Water and Sanitation) includes the framework for implementation of the National Rural Drinking Water programme (NRDWP) and includes the:
- National policy framework
- The modified programme which includes household level drinking water security
- The delivery mechanisms
- Planning, fund release and monitoring
- The exit policy
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