Drinking Water Programme

A coordination of sorts has developed between the Centre and the States in the area of development schemes. It is a healthy sign that more services are being coordinated and projected in national perspective. The era of talking only about Centre-State irritants has lost its validity owing to the economic and other compulsions. More and more rationalizing emerges when the scope and pace of development is taken in to account.
Water is one of the most crucial commodities needed by human beings, animals and plant life. There is tremendous pressure on water and its conservation is of utmost importance. Central Government has made the commitment that clean drinking water will be provided to all citizens of India. That is not a small commitment. Consequently, we have the Union Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation that draws plans for supply of clean drinking water to the urban and rural areas in the country. Under the scheme called National Rural Drinking Water Programme (NRDWP) our State get the grants for providing drinking water to the rural areas. For the financial year 2016-17 J&K was granted rupees 222.26 crore by the Union Ministry of Drinking Water. Naturally, the Ministry would want to know the progress in providing drinking water to the rural areas of Kashmir. The situation is that recently the Under Secretary of the Ministry has conveyed to the State Government that it is not going to increase the allocation for drinking water schemes in the State for the financial year 2017-18 and has advised the State to increase its own contribution to the scheme. The intention in doing so is to ensure that the contribution of the State to the already sanctioned schemes in this area is met. Stating that State should plan targets under NRDWP keeping in view the availability of nearly Rs 275 crore considering approximately Rs 45 crore from the State Budget, the Union Ministry thinks that higher contribution of State share would be appreciated to maintain more flow of funds to this sector. The emphasis of the Union Ministry in regard to NRDWP is that the State should increase its share so as to receive more benefits and enhanced share from the Ministry. All this boils down to the simple formula that the State of Jammu and Kashmir must find ways and means of increasing its contribution to Central schemes. The more its contribution the more will be proportionate contribution of the Union Ministry. As far as performance of Jammu and Kashmir vis-à-vis targets fixed for the 2016-17 financial year, the Minister has noted with concern that against target of focusing on 375 partially covered habitations, only 122 habitations were covered up to January this year.
It has noted that State had planned to complete 232 schemes, which will cover 375 habitations with 2.21 lakh population. However, up to January this year 46 schemes were completed and 122 habitations with population of 0.74 lakh covered with safe drinking water
Here, we would like to emphasise that the time has come when the State should think of reducing as far as possible dependence on Central allocations besides what normally the centre would do. The share of the State in a number of projects is inadequate and as such those schemes are not extended to the State and we are left out of the reach of such schemes. How long will the State continue to go about with a begging bowl? It has to generate its resources and meet the part of contribution it has to under given system. Financial dependence has to be reduced if the State wants to progress and introduce developmental schemes.


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