8 sep : Rural drinking water and sanitation flagship programs of NRDWP and Total Sanitation Campaign got a shot in arm today with the Government ’s go ahead to hire the services of about 21,000 young men and women to work for community mobilization, awareness generation campaigns, training and handholding, sanitation and hygiene, water quality surveillance, etc. among Gram Panchayats, Village Water & Sanitation Committees (VWSCs) and Gram Sabhas to enable them to manage their drinking water schemes and achieve total sanitation in their villages. The Department of Drinking Water and Sanitation under the Ministry of Rural Development would provide support for hiring the services of about 21,000 young men and women to work for this purpose. The decision is aimed at strengthening the decentralization process and to enable the rural communities, Gram Panchayats and Village and Water Sanitation Committees (VWSCs) to manage their local drinking water supply and sanitation.
Already as a part of Bharat Nirman, Government of India has decided to provide 100% grant to all States/ UTs as institutional support to set up functional State Water and Sanitation Support Organizations, District Water & Sanitation Mission (DWSMs) and Block Resource Centres (BRCS) for the flagship programs of National Rural Drinking Water Program (NRDWP) and Total Sanitation Campaign (TSC). Under the provisions of 73rd Amendment of the Constitution, if GPs, VWSCs and local communities are to manage their village water supply, local water sources, sanitation, etc., they have to be assisted with adequate human resources for mobilization of village communities; awareness generation on various aspects of safe drinking water, hygiene, sanitation; training and hand holding. At present this institutional support is not available in many parts of the country.
In this backdrop, Government of India has earmarked 5% of the NRDWP funds as 100% grant to States to take up various support activities in which the major initiative is to set up a fully functional State Water & Sanitation Support Organization (WSSO) and District Water & Sanitation Missions (DWSMs) at the State and district levels respectively. Provision has been made for procuring the services of well qualified manpower as sector specialists for these missions in different fields, viz. information, education & communication; training and capacity building; awareness generation; community mobilization; equity; monitoring and evaluation; hydrogeology; sanitation and hygiene etc. Detailed guidelines have been sent to all States to fill up the posts of these specialists, totaling about 3200, at the State and district levels by 31st December, 2010.
In addition, as a support structure and to take up awareness generation, mobilization, training and continuous handholding of Gram Panchayats, VWSCs and the Gram Sabhas, it has been decided to set up Block Resource Centre in all the 6442 Blocks/ Talukas/ Mandals of the country with 1-4 staff in each BRC. They will provide support to 2.5 lakh Gram Panchayats and 6 lakh Village Water & Sanitation Committees. Provision has also been made to involve reputed NGOs in running and managing these Block Resource Centres (BRCs). Detailed guidelines have been issued for setting up of BRCs with staff by 31st March, 2011.
It is expected that the decision will strengthen the operationalization of rural drinking water and sanitation flagship programs of NRDWP and Total Sanitation Campaign, adding on to the decentralization process and create an enabling environment for the rural communities, GPs and VWSCs to manage their local drinking water supply and sanitation.