Time: 9:30 AM - 11:00 AM
Venue: CTARA Conference Room No.1
Guide: Prof. NC Narayanan, Prof. Parmeshwar Udmale
RPC Members: Prof. Subodh Wagle, Prof. D Parthasarathy
Title: Evolution of Rural Drinking Water Supply Programs- An assessment of macro issues and micro manifestation in Bihar
Providing rural drinking water supply (RDWS) to all households has emerged as a Sisyphean task in India. Major shifts in approaches have happened in the RDWS sector since the 1970s, for instance supply driven to demand driven approach. These shifts were influenced by multilateral agencies through a variety of strategies such as decentralisation and community participation. With the emphasis on decentralisation and power to Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs), community-based RDWS programs were also promoted across different states. The two trends came together in Sector Reforms Pilot Project and Swajaldhara, promoted by the World Bank in the late 1990s where every rural household was to be provided with drinking water supply. The program’s policy thrust continued with the Jal Jeevan Mission (JJM) launched by the Ministry of Jal Shakti in 2019 with an aim to provide universal coverage of functional household tap connection to all rural households by the end of 2024 based on a decentralised community-based approach. A major challenge that surfaced in all such programs in the past two decades is not their implementation, but poor sustainability.
This report starts with an analysis of previous RDWS programs in India and analyses the challenges associated with them. At the macro level, this study identifies the factors that led to poor sustainability of previous RDWS programs. At the micro level, this study aims to identify how sustainability is conceptualised by key stakeholders by emphasising on the experience of Bihar. Prior to JJM, Government of Bihar had launched Har Ghar Nal ka Jal program in 2017 for universal coverage of households through tap water supply connection. The study focuses on understanding the roles and responsibilities of different stakeholders. It also interprets their understanding of sustainability of RDWS schemes based on qualitative interviews. This report also provides the conceptual framework for the analysis of sustainability of RDWS schemes.