Centre unveils National Urban Sanitation Policy

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New Delhi, Nov 12 (UNI) In the International Sanitation Year, India today formally launched its National Urban Sanitation Policy which aims to make all Indian cities sanitised, healthy and habitable.

Unveiling details of the policy, which was adopted last month, Dr M Ramachandran, Secretary, Ministry of Urban Development, said, ''About 26 per cent of India's 53 million urban households did not have access to individual santiation facilities and almost 50 million people were forced to defecate in the open. This has a significant impact on the environment as land and water bodies run the risk of being affected in most urban areas due to untreated sewage being dumped directly into them.'' He said lack of access to sanitation also has considerable impact on the health, well being of all urban dwellers. ''Through this policy we aim to transform all the towns and cities of India into totally sanitised spaces,'' he said at a dissemination wokshop organised by the Ministry.

The policy aims to ensure good health of citizens with a special focus on hygienic and affordable sanitation facilities for the Urban poor and women.

Its goals include awareness generation, elimination of open defecation, integrated city wide sanitation, safe disposal and proper operation and maintenance of all sanitary installations.

The Secretary said states would be encouraged to prepare state level sanitation strategies within a period of two years. Already six states including Maharashtra, West Bengal and Madhya Pradhesh have already surged ahead of others in adopting sanitation schemes, he said.

He said certain identified cities would also would be urged to prepare Model city sanitation plans. The Centre will provide assistance for preparation of the detailed project report as per city sanitation plan as soon as requests for funding were received.

The main elements of the policy are financial assistance for state level sanitation strategies and city level plans and Detailed Project Reports (DPRs), promoting Public Private Partnership (PPP), awareness generation and capacity building and others.

The policy envisages an annual rating schemes for all Class-I cities and institution of an annual award. The National Urban Advisory Group, constituted by the Ministry will be responsible for deciding annual awards to applicant citues, but will engage an agency to carry out the rating as per various indicators.

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