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| Last Updated:: 26/11/2021

Schemes & Policies

National Urban Sanitation Policy


Sanitation is defined as safe management of human excreta, including its safe confinement treatment, disposal and associated hygiene-related practices. While this policy pertains to management of human excreta and associated public health and environmental impacts, it is recognized that integral solutions need to take account of other elements of environmental sanitation, i.e. solid waste management; generation of industrial and other specialized / hazardous wastes; drainage; as also the management of drinking water supply.


According to Census 2001, 27.8% of Indians, i.e. 286 million people or 55 million households live in urban areas – projections indicate that the urban population would have grown to 331 million people by 2007 and to 368 million by 2012. 12.04 million (7.87 %) Urban households do not have access to latrines and defecate in the open. 5.48 million (8.13%) Urban households use community latrines and 13.4 million households (19.49%) use shared latrines. 12.47 million (18.5%) households do not have access to a drainage network. 26.83 million (39.8%) households are connected to open drains. The status in respect of the urban poor is even worse. The percentage of notified and non-notified slums without latrines is 17 percent and 51 percent respectively. In respect of septic latrines the availability is 66 percent and 35 percent. In respect of underground sewerage, the availability is 30 percent and 15 percent respectively. More than 37% of the total human excreta generated in urban India, is unsafely disposed. This imposes significant public health and environmental costs to urban areas that contribute more than 60% of the country’s GDP. Impacts of poor sanitation are especially significant for the urban poor (22% of total urban population), women, children and the elderly. The loss due to diseases caused by poor sanitation for children under 14 years alone in urban areas amounts to Rs. 500 Crore at 2001 prices (Planning Commission-United Nations International Children Emergency Fund (UNICEF), 2006). Inadequate discharge of untreated domestic/municipalwastewater has resulted in contamination of 75 percent of all surface water across India. The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) enjoin upon the signatory nations to extend access to improved sanitation to at least half the urban population by 2015, and 100% access by 2025. This implies extending coverage to households without improved sanitation, and providing proper sanitation facilities in public places to make cities opendefecation free. Read More....

Source: Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, GoI 


National Water Policy


A scarce natural resource, water is fundamental to life, livelihood, food security and sustainable development. India has more than 18 % of the world’s population, but has only 4% of world’s renewable water resources and 2.4% of world’s land area. There are further limits on utilizable quantities of water owing to uneven distribution over time and space. In addition, there are challenges of frequent floods and droughts in one or the other part of the country. With a growing population and rising needs of a fast developing nation as well as the given indications of the impact of climate change, availability of utilizable water will be under further strain in future with the possibility of deepening water conflicts among different user groups. Low consciousness about the scarcity of water and its life sustaining and economic value results in its mismanagement, wastage, and inefficient use, as also pollution and reduction of flows below minimum ecological needs. In addition, there are inequities in distribution and lack of a unified perspective in planning, management and use of water resources. The objective of the National Water Policy is to take cognizance of the existing situation, to propose a framework for creation of a system of laws and institutions and for a plan of action with a unified national perspective.


The present scenario of water resources and their management in India has given rise to several concerns, important amongst them are:


  • Large parts of India have already become water stressed. Rapid growth in demand for water due to population growth, urbanization and changing lifestyle pose serious challenges to water security.
  • Issues related to water governance have not been addressed adequately. Mismanagement of water resources has led to a critical situation in many parts of the country.
  • There is wide temporal and spatial variation in availability of water, which may increase substantially due to a combination of climate change, causing deepening of water crisis and incidences of water related disasters, i.e., floods, increased erosion and increased frequency of droughts, etc.
  • Climate change may also increase the sea levels. This may lead to salinity intrusion in ground water aquifers / surface waters and increased coastal inundation in coastal regions, adversely impacting habitations, agriculture and industry in such regions.
  • Access to safe water for drinking and other domestic needs still continues to be a problem in many areas. Skewed availability of water between different regions and different people in the same region and also the intermittent and unreliable water supply system has the potential of causing social unrest. More Details....

Source: Ministry of Jal Shakti, Department of water resources, River Development & Ganga Rejuvenation, GoI


Comprehensive Mission Document For National Water Mission - VOLUME I

The main objective of the National Water Mission is “conservation of water, minimizing wastage and ensuring its more equitable distribution both across and within States through integrated water resources development and management”. The five identified goals of the Mission are: (a) comprehensive water data base in public domain and assessment of impact of climate change on water resource; (b) promotion of citizen and state action for water conservation, augmentation and preservation; (c) focused attention to vulnerable areas including over-exploited areas; (d) increasing water use efficiency by 20%, and (e) promotion of basin level integrated water resources management.



Comprehensive Mission Document For National Water Mission - VOLUME II

The main water resources of India consists of the precipitation on the Indian territory which is estimate to be around 4000 km3 /year, and transboundary flows which it receives in its rivers and aquifers from the upper riparian countries. Out of the total precipitation, including snowfall, the availability from surface water and replenishable groundwater is estimated as 1869 km3 . Due to various constraints of topography, uneven distribution of resource over space and time, it has been estimated that only about 1123 km3 including 690 km3 from surface water and 433 km3 from groundwater resources can be put to beneficial use. Table 1.1 shows the water resources of the country at a glance. Precipitation over a large part of India is concentrated in the monsoon season during June to September/October. Precipitation varies from 100 mm in the western parts of Rajasthan to over 11000 mm at Cherrapunji in Meghalaya.



Ground Water Management & Regulation

The first priority and charge on groundwater shall be meeting the right to water for life, followed by allocation for achieving food security, supporting sustenance agriculture, sustainable livelihoods and eco-system needs.



National Rural Health Mission


The National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) was launched by the Hon’ble Prime Minister on 12th April 2005, to provide accessible, affordable and quality health care to the rural population, especially the vulnerable groups. The Union Cabinet vide its decision dated 1st May 2013, has approved the launch of National Urban Health Mission (NUHM) as a Sub-mission of an over-arching National Health Mission (NHM), with National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) being the other Sub-mission of National Health Mission.


NRHM seeks to provide equitable, affordable and quality health care to the rural population, especially the vulnerable groups. Under the NRHM, the Empowered Action Group (EAG) States as well as North Eastern States, Jammu and Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh have been given special focus. The thrust of the mission is on establishing a fully functional, community owned, decentralized health delivery system with inter-sectoral convergence at all levels, to ensure simultaneous action on a wide range of determinants of health such as water, sanitation, education, nutrition, social and gender equality. Institutional integration within the fragmented health sector was expected to provide a focus on outcomes, measured against Indian Public Health Standards for all health facilities.Read More..


Source: Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India

National Urban Health Mission


The National Urban Health Mission (NUHM) as a sub-mission of National Health Mission (NHM) has been approved by the Cabinet on 1st May 2013.

NUHM envisages to meet health care needs of the urban population with the focus on urban poor, by making available to them essential primary health care services and reducing their out of pocket expenses for treatment. This will be achieved by strengthening the existing health care service delivery system, targeting the people living in slums and converging with various schemes relating to wider determinants of health like drinking water, sanitation, school education, etc. implemented by the Ministries of Urban Development, Housing & Urban Poverty Alleviation, Human Resource Development and Women & Child Development.

NUHM would endeavour to achieve its goal through:-


i) Need based city specific urban health care system to meet the diverse health care needs of the urban poor and other vulnerable sections.


ii) Institutional mechanism and management systems to meet the health-related challenges of a rapidly growing urban population.


iii) Partnership with community and local bodies for a more proactive involvement in planning, implementation, and monitoring of health activities.


iv) Availability of resources for providing essential primary health care to urban poor.


v) Partnerships with NGOs, for profit and not for profit health service providers and other stakeholders.


NUHM would cover all State capitals, district headquarters and cities/towns with a population of more than 50000. It would primarily focus on slum dwellers and other marginalized groups like rickshaw pullers, street vendors, railway and bus station coolies, homeless people, street children, construction site workers.

The centre-state funding pattern will be 75:25 for all the States except North-Eastern states including Sikkim and other special category states of Jammu & Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand, for whom the centre-state funding pattern will be 90:10.The Programme Implementation Plans (PIPs) sent by the by the states are apprised and approved by the Ministry. Read More....

Source: Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India

Central Rural Sanitation Programme


Individual Health and hygiene is largely dependent on adequate availability of drinking water and proper sanitation. There is, therefore, a direct relationship between water, sanitation and health. Consumption of unsafe drinking water, improper disposal of human excreta, improper environmental sanitation and lack of personal and food hygiene have been major causes of many diseases in developing countries. India is no exception to this. Prevailing High Infant Mortality Rate is also largely attributed to poor sanitation. It was in this context that the Central Rural Sanitation Programme (CRSP) was launched in 1986 primarily with the objective of improving the quality of life of the rural people and also to provide privacy and dignity to women.


The concept of sanitation was earlier limited to disposal of human excreta by cesspools, open ditches, pit latrines, bucket system etc. Today it connotes a comprehensive concept, which includes liquid and solid waste disposal, food hygiene, and personal, domestic as well as environmental hygiene. Proper sanitation is important not only from the general health point of view but it has a vital role to play in our individual and social life too. Sanitation is one of the basic determinants of quality of life and human development index. Good sanitary practices prevent contamination of water and soil and thereby prevent diseases. The concept of sanitation was, therefore, expanded to include personal hygiene, home sanitation, safe water, garbage disposal, excreta disposal and waste water disposal.


A comprehensive Baseline Survey on Knowledge, Attitudes and Practices in rural water supply and sanitation was conducted during 1996-97 under the aegis of the Indian Institute of Mass Communication, which showed that 55% of those with private latrines were self-motivated. Only 2% of the respondents claimed the existence of subsidy as the major motivating factor, while 54% claimed to have gone in for sanitary latrines due to convenience and privacy. The study also showed that 51% of the respondents were willing to spend upto Rs.1000/- to acquire sanitary toilets. 


Source: Guidelines Central Rural Sanitation Prrogramme, 2011


National Policy on Faecal Sludge and Septage Management (FSSM)


Faecal Sludge: “Faecal Sludge” is raw or partially digested, in a slurry or semisolid form, the collection, storage or treatment of combinations of excreta and black water, with or without grey water.

It is the solid or settled contents of pit latrines and septic tanks. The physical, chemical and biological qualities of faecal sludge are influenced by the duration of storage, temperature, soil condition, and intrusion of groundwater or surface water in septic tanks or pits, performance of septic tanks, and tank emptying technology and pattern.  Faecal sludge is the solid or settled contents of pit latrines and septic tanks. Faecal sludge (FS) comes from onsite sanitation systems. Examples of onsite technologies include pit latrines, non-sewered public ablution blocks, septic tanks, aqua privies, and dry toilets.Read More....