Unravelling Rural India’s enduring water indigence: framing the questions, issues, options and opportunities

By Deepak Sanan
1 January 2014

The paper extensively reviews India’s centrally sponsored programme for improving drinking water supply coverage in rural settlements. The first section of this paper seeks to describe the current status and general understanding of the problems related to rural drinking water delivery in India. The second section looks at the course policy has traversed in over 60 years of planning. How has policy perceived the constraints to achieving universal access and sought to address them over time?  The third section critically analyses the limitations of the existing understanding and response and explains why improved outcomes are unlikely in this situation and an alternate approach is needed in the scheme of Centre State transfers. The fourth section suggests an alternative design for the scheme to transfer funds from the Centre to the States as the key intervention to alter the situation. The final section discusses the prospects of such a design being adopted.