National Rural Drinking Water Programme

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The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has accorded its approval for continuation and restructuring of National Rural Drinking Water Programme (NRDWP) to make it outcome-based, competitive and better monitored with increased focus on sustainability (functionality) of schemes to ensure good quality service delivery to the rural population.

(A sum of Rs. 23,050 crore has been approved for the programme for the Fourteenth Finance Commission (FFC) period 2017-18 to 2019-20.)

The programme will cover all the Rural Population across the country. The restructuring will make the programme flexible, result-oriented, competitive, and will enable the Ministry towards to reach the goal of increasing coverage of sustainable Piped Water Supply.


  • National Rural Drinking Water Programme (NRDWP) is to be continued co-terminus with the 14thFinance Commission cycle till March 2020.
  •  As per estimates, about Rs. 12,500 crore as Central share will be required over 4 years i.e. up to March, 2021. This is being funded from the allocation under NRDWP.
  • Pre-financing for the agreed schemes, to the extent of half of the second instalment amount, will be made by the State Governments, which will be reimbursed later on from the central funding. If the State(s) fails to claim this amount before 30thNovember in the financial year, then, these funds will become a part of the common pool, which will be released to the high performing States, which have already pre-financed the requisite Government of India share on a first come first serve basis.
  • Other half of second installment of funds will be released to the States based on functionality status of completed piped water supply schemes, which will be evaluated through a third party.
  • The Cabinet has approved Rs. 23,050 crore for the programme for the FFC period 2017-18 to 2019-20.

The NWQSM aims to cover all rural population in Arsenic/Fluoride affected habitations with clean drinking water on a sustainable basis by March 2021. States have been given more flexibility in utilization of NRDWP funds by reducing the number of components under the programme.

As per the Integrated Management Information System (IMIS) of the Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation, about 77% of rural habitations in India have achieved a fully covered (FC) status (40 litres per capita per day) and 56% of the rural population have access to tap water through public stand posts within which 16.7% have household connections. 

The NRDWP has following six components

  • NRDWP (Coverage),
  • NRDWP (Sustainability)
  • NRDWP (Water quality)
  • NRDWP (DDP areas)
  • NRDWP (Natural calamity)
  • NRDWP (Support)

Involvement of PRIs

As per the 73rd Amendment to the Constitution, the responsibility for drinking water may be devolved to the panchayati raj institutions (PRIs). In many States, rural drinking water schemes have been transferred to PRIs for operation and maintenance. To encourage this aspect and involve PRIs in O&M, the Government of India has revised its guidelines for the rural water supply scheme to provide for a 10% weightage in allocation of funds to States. This weightage is given for the rural population managing their water supply schemes.

Objectives / Norms for providing drinking water

  • 40 liters per capita per day (lpcd) of safe drinking water for human beings.
  • 30 lpcd additional for cattle in the Desert Development Programme Areas.
  • One hand-pump or stand post for every 250 persons.
  • The water source should exist within the habitation / within 1.6 km in the plains and within 100 mtrs. elevation in the hilly areas.

In accordance with the policy of Government of India, the Department of Drinking Water Supply has earmarked 10% of the total Central outlay for the programme for the NE States.


  • The NRDWP was started in 2009, with a major emphasis on ensuring sustainability (source) of water availability in terms of portability, adequacy, convenience, affordability and equity.
  • NRDWP is a Centrally Sponsored Scheme with 50:50 fund sharing between the Centre and the States.
  • Over the years, learning from the success achieved and the deficiencies felt during the implementation of NRDWP, certain modifications are needed in existing guidelines and procedure of release of funds to the States for making the programme more outcome-oriented and competitive.
  • Focus on piped water supply, increase level of service delivery, thrust on coverage of water quality affected habitations (National Water Quality Sub-Mission to tackle Arsenic & Fluoride affected habitations, JE / AES areas), coverage of Open Defecation Free (ODF) declared villages, SAGY GPs, Ganga GPs, Integrated Action Plan (IAP) districts, Border Out Posts (BOP) with piped water supply and Institutional set up for proper O&M of water supply assets etc. have been introduced.



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