New Delhi: Mr Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, Union Minister, Ministry of Jal Shakti, Government of India , today said that in a move that can completely transform the drinking water sector, the government has put up water-quality testing infrastructure available to every village to improve service in terms of quantity, quality, and regularity, by instituting 2000 water testing laboratories and targeting 6000 laboratories in the coming year.
Addressing the 5th ISC-FICCI Sanitation Awards and India Sanitation Conclave 2021 Mr Shekhawat said that even though India is declared open defecation-free (ODF) in 2019, the nation aspires to be a global leader in achieving a sustainable approach towards sanitation. “While India aims to provide dignity to women through water and sanitation, the process must be sustainable in terms of solid, liquid, plastic, and cattle waste management in a clustered way, especially in rural India,” he said.
He further mentioned that the centre is training five women from each village to test the quality of water as part of the ambitious Jal Jeevan mission, which aims to provide safe and adequate drinking water. “The report generated by the women will help to monitor and measure the quality of water,” he said.
He also stated that the drinking water supply work continued to reach more than 8.5 crore households despite the Covid-19 pandemic and the lockdown.
He urged India Sanitation Coalition and FICCI to work with the govt to save underground water resource, “we have to work with conviction else the future will make us work with a compulsion to save underground water resources,” said the Minister.
Mr Kaushal Kishore, Minister of State, Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, Government of India said that there is has been a steady transformation and change in the way people are now behaving as far as sanitation is concerned. “We need to take concrete steps towards solid waste management and safe disposal of sewage”. We intend to make India an ODF ++ country by 2024 including both urban and rural India, said the Minister.
Speaking on the opportunity of the Start-Ups in the water and sanitation sector specifically for the rural sector, Mr Arun Baroka, Additional secretary (SBM & CVO) said, there is a huge scope in the sector of solid and liquid waste management. “The problems in the rural area are different which requires unique solutions which can be provided by the Start-Ups,” said Mr Baroka.
Padmashri Dr RA Mashelkar, Chair, Awards Jury said, innovation is the need of the hour, and this award promotes not only achievement but values. The great jury of ISC Awards and the India Sanitation conclave brings knowledge and wisdom and provides a platform to enable replication of solutions that are demonstrating success.
Padmashri Ms Naina Lal Kidwai, Chair, India Sanitation Coalition (ISC) said, the India Sanitation Conclave is one of the largest events of its kind in India. Real progress, she said, will not come through small, isolated pockets of success; it will come when we pool in our efforts and learnings and build a strong foundation. There is a huge opportunity to create jobs in the delivery of sanitation and water – the market value for maintenance and repair of toilets itself is expected to rise to 11 billion usd by the current year . We will continue to work on promoting scalable and commercially viable solutions to make the sanitation economy attractive to the private sector . We will also focus on ensuring these solutions are seen through a gender and inclusive lens so that no- one is left behind .
FICCI President Mr Uday Shankar said, we all have a role to play in making clean water, decent toilets, and good hygiene available universally for everyone by 2030. “Businesses can gain a share of the economic benefit as a financial return on any investment they make in WASH,” he said.
Dr Natasha Patel, CEO – ISC said, the ISC- FICCI Sanitation Award was set up to reward quality innovative work in India covering sanitation work and services. “This year, we added a special category to reward the women changemakers in sanitation, following our current focus on looking at sanitation through a gender lens,” said the CEO.