New guidelines have been released by the Department of Drinking Water Supply, Ministry of Rural Development (GoI), towards ensuring drinking water security in rural areas. This programme is being taken up under the Rajiv Gandhi National Drinking Water Mission (RGNDWM). The Department of Drinking Water Supply (DDWS) is the nodal department in the Ministry of Rural Development (MoRD) in the Government of India, providing scientific, technical, and financial assistance to the states in the drinking water and sanitation sector. Access the guidelines here: National Rural Water Supply Programme Guidelines - 2008 Some salient features of the document are as follows:
* The document talks of the right to drinking water irrespective of ability to pay.
* It talks of water budgeting at a village level and the conjunctive use of groundwater surface water and rainwater harvesting. Water quality and greywater management are covered, and a move towards decentralization to PRIs is encouraged.
* The Accelarated Rural Water Supply Programme is being renamed the National Rural Water Supply Programme. Components of the programme include Coverage, Sustainability, Water quality, DDP areas, Natural calamity and Support. Under the Sustainability component, the states are required to prepare a district-wise Drinking Water Security Plan. The existing Swajaladhara programme will be subsumed under this component.
*Village Water and Sanitation Committees should be made a standing committee of the Gram Panchayat. Two new bodies proposed are a District Water and Sanitation Mission and a state Water and Sanitation Support Organisation.
*Special provision is make for supply of drinking water to rural schools.
* A "Swajal Gram Puraskar" incentive award for Gram Panchayats is being started.
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