New Delhi, Apr 25 (UNI) A delegation from Pakistan headed by Javed Ali Khan, Director General, Federal Ministry of Environment, Islamabad and comprising officers from the Provincial Governments, NGOs and UNICEF called upon Minister of State for Rural Development Chandra Sekhar Sahu here today.
The delegates were briefed by Mr Sahu on the approach and strategy adopted by Government of India for achieving universal coverage in the field of sanitation in rural India by the year 2012.
The two sides exchanged their views on a number of programmes related with the rural sanitation and rural water supply and agreed upon sharing their experiences in this regard. The difficulties faced in the implementation of schemes was also discussed.
The Pakistani delegation also offered invitation to the Minister to visit Pakistan.
Mr Sahu explained the Total Sanitation Campaign (TSC) approach in which all the stake holders including individual households, Panchayati Raj Institutions, Women Self Help Groups and NGOs are being involved in implementation of the holistic sanitation programme.
The programme comprises construction of individual households, community toilets, school toilets, health and hygiene promotion and solid and liquid waste management. As a consequences, during the last four years, 35.4 million households in rural India were provided with latrine. In 2007-08 alone, more than 10 million toilets have been provided to rural households. As such, because of the decentralized and demand driven approach adopted under the TSC programme, the coverage of individual household latrines in rural India, which was one per cent in 1981, rose to 21.9 per cent in 2001 and currently stands at 53.5 per cent.
The Minister said, Indian Government is committed to sustain this momentum by increasing its reach and fund allocation. Last year only the Central plan outlay for rural sanitation was increased from Rs 740 crore in 2006-07 to Rs 1060 crore in the current year marking an increase of 43 per cent over the previous year.
Today, the programme has crossed Rs 12,000 crore mark in its total outlay making it one of the largest sanitation progrmmes in the world.
Mr Sahu said the Ministry of Rural Development has also added new components like Solid and Liquid Waste Management and earmarked 10 per cent of the total fund of the TSC for it, which is important for environmental cleanliness. Also, waste is a form of resource and its proper use should be promoted.
He said the year 2008 is being celebrated as International Year of Sanitation. The third SACOSAN (South Asian Conference on Sanitation) is being hosted by India in November this year, the Minister informed.
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