Failing to utilize Central assistance


The National Rural Drinking Water Programme (NRDWP) is aimed at providing every rural person with adequate safe water for drinking, cooking and other domestic basic needs on a sustainable basis. In a big question mark on its performance, the Department of Public Health Engineering (PHE) has failed to utilize over Rs 155 crore Central assistance provided under National Rural Drinking Water Programme during the current financial year. Due to this, vast population in rural areas of the State has remained deprived of safe and adequate drinking water.The NRDWP has several components and the most important among them pertains to coverage-for providing safe and adequate drinking water supply to un-served, partially served and slipped back habitations. About 47% of the annual NRDWP funds are allocated for coverage on the basis of prescribed inter-state allocation criteria. The funding pattern for Jammu and Kashmir under this component is 90:10.
However, due to slackness on the part of authorities of the Public Health Engineering Department of the State an amount of Rs 155.92 crore has remained unspent as on March 21, 2019 as a result of which vast population in rural areas of the State could not obtain benefit of the scheme exclusively tailored for them. Anguished over such a huge amount remaining unspent at a time when the current financial year is going to end within next few days, the Union Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation has dashed a communication to the Commissioner/ Secretary to Government, Department of Public Health Engineering expressing serious concern over the slackness on the part of the concerned authorities in utilization of funds. The first instalment of funds under NRDWP was released after subsuming excess Opening Balance beyond 10% of release of previous year. However, perusal of Integrated Management Information System (IMIS) data shows that an amount of Rs 155.92 crore is lying as unspent balance as on March 21, 2019, which is more than permissible unspent balance of 10% of the releases made during 2018-19", read the Letter No.W-11042/13/2019/ Water-I dated March 22, 2019 addressed to Commissioner/ Secretary to Government, PHE Department by Director of Department of Drinking Water of Union Ministry Rajesh Kumar.

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