Sanitation firmly on the map, But still a long way to go: A position paper for the second South Asia Conference on Sanitation by WaterAid India 2006

Saturday, November 22, 2014 - 10:30

This paper by WaterAid India highlights the progress, key issues and challenges and recommendations for improving sanitation coverage with special focus on the poor. It is based on the experience of WaterAid India, other major sector agencies and NGOs and also takes into consideration the programme of state and national governments of India for sanitation promotion. The paper has also drawn from a major workshop on Women & Sanitation that was held in Delhi. WaterAid India had initiated review and documentation of a set of case studies and best practices for informing the promulgation of recommendations for this position paper. All the eight case studies have been compiled.

This paper is divided into four sections – rural sanitation, urban sanitation, school sanitation and gender and social exclusion. Lessons learnt and recommendations are given at the end of each of the four sub sections of this paper. The overall policy recommendations for consideration of Government of India are: 

There is an urgent need to prioritise institutional and policy reforms undertaken by Government of India. While sector reviews and vision and plan of operations are being undertaken by state governments, the national government may initiate the following: 

  • Promulgate a national sanitation policy with explicit commitment to the poor and vulnerable delineating appropriate institutional arrangement for its delivery and management. The current guidelines could feed the policy framework. The policy should get away with the “performance by target” syndrome and should focus on sustainability of benefits and investments.
  • Integrate implementation of Swajaldhara and Total Sanitation Campaign through financing of joint proposals where need for water and sanitation are unmet. Financing comprehensive proposals of sanitation including waste water management, compost pit, etc for improved environmental sanitation. 
  • Establish appropriate institutional arrangements at state and local level which ensure participation of communities and civil society and ensures community procurement and management.
  • Expand the scope of current online monitoring system to capture beyond numbers.  
  • Vest State Water and Sanitation Mission with greater funds for capacity building of communities, PRIs and civil society organisations which can understand the local socio-cultural milieu, poverty levels and could respond accordingly. 
  • Increase allocation for sanitation and monitor its utilisation. Though huge amounts have been approved there is a huge gap in release and utilisation. Special support missions be constituted where utilisation so far has been less than 25 per cent of the approved amount for sanitation. 
  • Promote public private partnership for managing the supply requirements. The logistics and supply for the possible demand for sanitary wares and production materials is highly unmet.  
  • TSC could have separate budget allocation for aided and private schools post 2007. It is expected that most of the government schools shall be covered by end of financial year 2007. 
  • Enhanced role and opportunity for NGOs involvement in community-led water and sanitation programmes, through financial support for NGOs and a commitment to devote at least 75 per cent of the budget of the central grants under TSC and Swajaldhara for water and sanitation to credible NGOs. 

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