Patna: The government of India and the World Bank on Friday signed a $500 million credit agreement to improve piped water supply and sanitation services through decentralized delivery systems in Bihar, Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh and Assam.
Only 31% of the 167 million rural households in India have today access to tap water and domestic toilets (Census 2011). About 67% of the rural population continues to defecate in the open and India accounts for about 50% of the world’s open defecation.
The project will be implemented over a six-year period and will support the design and implementation of a dedicated rural water supply and sanitation (RWSS) project for low income states under the ongoing National Rural Drinking Water Programme of the ministry of drinking water and sanitation (MoDWS). Phase-1 of the project signed on Friday will support RWSS programmes in 33 districts in the four states.
These states have the lowest coverage of tap water with Bihar at 2.6%,Jharkhand at 3.7%, Assam at 6.8% and Uttar Pradesh at 20.2%.
Bihar, Jharkhand and Uttar Pradesh also lag behind other states significantly in sanitation with more than 75% of the rural households not having access to latrines on their premises. This project is expected to directly benefit about 7.8 million rural people in these states.
Improving access to water and sanitation services through decentralized delivery systems is a development priority of the government of India.
The sanitation component will support the government of India programme, which includes construction of household toilets, soak-pits, drain and lane improvements, community awareness programmes for improving sanitation and hygiene practices, along with incentives for achieving open defecation-free status.
In addition, the project will promote pilot programmes for 24X7 water supply and introduce new technologies in the RWSS sector, including the use of solar energy.
Bihar secretary (public health and engineering) Anshuli Arya also attended the meeting.