Addressing the Rajya Sabha today, Minister for Drinking Water and Sanitation Narendra Singh Tomar said that water in 66,663 areas in India is undrinkable due to the presence of arsenic and fluorides. Tomar also highlighted the government’s ongoing efforts to provide potable water to people, saying that a wide variety of projects have been launched in this regard. He said that the government’s mission was to provide piped drinking water to 80% of the population by the year 2022.
Tomar was responding to queries during the Question Hour in Rajya Sabha. He pointed out that safe drinking water is the responsibility of respective States and the Center provides assistance in the form of technical and financial assistance through the centrally-sponsored National Rural Drinking Water program and other initiatives. Tomar also responded to allegations that untreated water was being supplied to people by asserting that water was provided to people only after treatment.
Providing details about various schemes launched by the government, Tomar said that the Niti Ayog has allocated special funds worth Rs 800 crore for improving drinking water in various States. “Special assistance of ₹100 crore each has also been provided to West Bengal and Rajasthan, which are the most affected States due to fluorides and arsenic and the government is working towards removing them,” he said.