The Accelerated Rural Water Supply Programme (ARWSP) was introduced in 1972-73 by the Government of India to assist the states and Union Territories to accelerate the pace of coverage of drinking water supply. The programme was given a missionary approach with the launch of the Technology Mission of Drinking Water and Related Water Management, also called the National Drinking Water Mission (NDWM) in 1986. The NDWM was renamed as the Rajiv Gandhi National Drinking Water Mission (RGNDWM) in 1991.
Rural water supplies being a state subject, the state governments have been implementing the rural water supply programme under the Minimum Needs Programme (MNP). The central government through RGNDWM supplements the efforts of the state governments by providing assistance under the Accelerated Rural Water Supply Programme.
i. The present allocation criteria of funds under ARWSP to the states based on normative criteria should be replaced with a need-based approach. The states having large number of ‘Not Covered’ and quality affected habitations in drought-prone, desert regions and hard rock areas would get more allocation than the states well-endowed with water resources.
ii. Decentralization of powers to the states for implementation of sub-mission programmes.
iii. Enhancing ceiling for operation and maintenance from the present level of 10 percent to 15 percent of annual plan allocation.
iv. Providing 100 percent funds for the nascent programmes such as HRD, R&D, lEC and Management Information System.
v. Institutionalizing community-based demand-driven rural water supply programme with cost-sharing instruments by communities, gradually replacing the current supply-driven, centrally maintained non-people participating rural water supply programme.
vi. Institutionalizing water quality monitoring and surveillance systems. Out of 1.43 million rural habitations in the country, 1.40 million habitations have access to safe drinking water. Special efforts are being made for ensuring sustainability of the facilities provided under the Accelerated Rural Water Supply Programme, by initiating action to institutionalize community-based rural water supply programme. Special emphasis is being given to areas affected with quality problems due to excess fluoride, arsenic, iron and other pollutants.