National Rural Drinking Water Programme (NRDWP) was launched in 2009.  It aimed to provide all rural habitations, government schools, and anganwadis access to safe drinking water.

  • It aims to provide safe and adequate water for drinking, cooking and other domestic needs to every rural person on a sustainable basis.  
  • It also aimed to provide 50% of rural population potable drinking water (55 litres per capita per day) by piped water supply. 
  • It also sought to give household connections to 35% of rural households.  


Underperformance of the scheme

  • Only 44% of rural households and 85% of government schools and anganwadis were provided access.  
  • Of this, only 18% of the rural population was provided potable drinking water. 
  • Of this, only 17% of rural households were given household connections. 

Planning and delivery mechanism: The CAG noted that 21 states had not framed water security plans.  

  • The apex level National Drinking Water and Sanitation Council set up to co-ordinate and ensure convergence remained largely non-functional.  
  • State level agencies important for planning and execution of the programme, such as the State Water and Sanitation Mission, State Technical Agency, and Block Resources Centres were either not set up or were under-performing. 
  • Fund management:  The availability of funds declined during 2013-14 and 2016-17 due to reduced central allocation and inability of states to increase their own financial commitment.    
  • Programme implementation: NRDWP failed to achieve its targets due to deficiencies in implementation, such as: (i) incomplete, abandoned and non-operational works, (ii) unproductive expenditure on equipment, (iii) non-functional sustainability structures, and (iv) gaps in contractual management, with a total financial implication of Rs 2,212 crore. 
  • There was inadequate focus on surface water based schemes and 98% of the schemes, including piped water schemes continued to be based on ground water resources. 
  • The CAG also noted that operation and maintenance plans were either not prepared in most states or they had deficiencies in them.  This led to schemes becoming non-functional.  

Way forward:

  • The CAG recommended that the Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation should review the feasibility and practicality of the planning and delivery mechanisms to ensure that they serve the intended purposes. 
  • It also suggested that the water security plans and annual action plans must be prepared with community participation to ensure that schemes are aligned to community requirements and utilise water resources in an optimum and sustainable manner.
  • It recommended that allocation of resources should be dynamic and based on a clear assessment of requirements and achievements under each component of the scheme. 
  • The CAG recommended that focus should be placed on effective works and contract management to ensure that works are completed in time as per the contractual terms.  Delays attributable to contractors should be penalised and accountability should be enforced.