Allocation for water and sanitation may go up 50 percentMarch 10th, 2012 - 10:16 pm ICT by IANS
Hiware Bajar (Maharashtra), March 10 (IANS) Water supply and sanitation projects in the country would get a boost with up to 50 per cent increase in allocation in the annual budget this year, Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh said Saturday.
“I expect the most significant increase to take place in water supply and sanitation… I believe 30 to 50 percent,” Ramesh told IANS on the sidelines of an event here in Ahmed Nagar district.
“The finance minister has promised significant increase in the outlay for the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojna for rural roads. So these are the two programmes in which we expect significant increase,” he added.
Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee will present the budget March 16.
The union minister who was in Hiware Bajar, a village known for its watershed development programmes, also stressed the need to educate the rural population about proper sanitation.
Hiware Bajar has shown a dramatic change in water availability from being a water-scarce area to water-surplus one through efficient water management.
Ramesh lauded the effort of Popat Rao Pawar, a Hiware Bajar native, for his contribution in the field of watershed development.
Asked to compare Pawar’s role in rural development with Anna Hazare in Ralegaon Siddhi in the same district, Ramesh said: “I don’t think anyone can deny what Anna Hazare did in Ralegaon Siddhi. But Hiware Bajar is equally important and has not got the attention that Ralegaon has got.”
“There are many such success stories in India we must project so that other states can take lesson.”
The minister also said that the second phase of Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA) will begin from April 1 and would have over 32 more work solutions.
“There are a number of other recommendations that have been made to avoid delays in the wage payments, to strengthen the capacity of the gram panchayats, to improve the quality of assets that are being created.”
“It has been six years since we launched NREGA. It’s time to learn from that experience.”
The UPA government has widened the scope of its flagship programme to include works related to agriculture, animal husbandry, poultry, drinking water and sanitation.
About the demand for a hike in wages by Kerala’s rural workers, Ramesh said demand for wages increase had come from every state.
“And that is being examined separately.”
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