Painting a dismal picture, a government survey on Monday revealed that only 30 per cent of rural population had access to safe drinking (tap) water in the country. It said 55 per cent depend on tube well or hand pumps to meet their drinking water requirement. The findings are stated in the National Sample Survey Office study on housing condition and amenities in India, 2008-09. It may be recalled that the government is working on a comprehensive water policy to charge for the use of the natural resource.
In public outburst on Sunday, the Planning Commission Deputy Chairman, Mr Montek Singh Ahluwalia had said the country needs to charge a reasonable price for water to minimise wastage.
The report of NSSO reveals that 15 per cent of rural populations was still looking for a dependable source of water. The study also brings out that even in urban India there are still eight per cent population that does not have any drinking water source although in this case 74 per cent urban population have access to safe drinking water. Mr Ahluwalia had told the India Economic Forum on Sunday that in most part of the country water was not reasonably priced leading to its wasteful use.
“We are currently working with the ministry of water resources on a new water policy… The policy is expected in the next three-four months,” Mr Ahluwalia said.
The Minister of Statistics and Programme Implementation, Mr Sriprakash Jaiswal said the findings would go a long way in making inclusive growth strategy more meaningful.
Also the data thrown by the survey is expected to be useful for academicians and researchers for their studies or research which is again useful in policy formulations, he said.