Shri Narendra Modi has implemented a state-wide special purpose activity, WASMO, to solve the problem of drinking water supply in rural communities. This has solved an age-old problem of drinking water in rural communities. Rural citizens have been encouraged to participate during the formation of water committees, in the decision-making process of water management.
The true image of decentralization has come to the fore because of the way Mr. Modi has made people work for him and the way he is involved in governance and the leadership that is done at the local level. It was rightly said by Thomas Fuller that “we don’t know the value of water until the well runs dry.” Gujarat is a state where 20% area has 71% water resources and remaining 80% area has 29% water resources and rural areas have to face drinking water crisis. The provision of water resources is one of the biggest challenges for the state government.
However, Shri Narendra Modi has given this crisis as an opportunity due to his efficient leadership ability and made best efforts to emerge from this crisis. For this, he went a step ahead and implemented a special purpose activity in the state in 2002, which is known as WASMO (Water and Sanitation Management Organization). The main objective of running this activity is to maintain the supply and sanitation of drinking water in rural communities. Apart from this, it is also worth mentioning to know more about this scheme that how this project run keeping in mind the rural community has handled the decentralization issue properly along with great realistic results. . Water committees have been constituted as sub-committees of the Gram Panchayat to involve the rural citizens in the decision making process of water supply.
The special feature of these committees is that women and marginalized groups have been assured of adequate representation. WASMO is an organization running a comprehensive capacity building program which communicates the financial activities of the committee among the members of the committee and takes decisions in public interest after considering other aspects. The members of the committee are also directed to cooperate in adding ten per cent of the cost of capital towards the welfare of the village keeping the sense of ownership and the welfare of the village. The Paani Samiti has been specially instituted keeping in mind the positive attitude of the leading ladies in terms of cleanliness, health, reduction of diseases caused by dirty water and hard labour. The number of water committees in the state is increasing rapidly from 82 to 18,076 between 2002 and 2012.
To ensure access to clean drinking water in rural areas, WASMO has implemented the Rural Drinking Water Quality and Surveillance Program. Partners from various sectors associated with the organization such as Gujarat Water Supply, Sewerage Board (GWSSB) and UNICEF have played an important role in this process. By the end of 2012, 16,676 water quality teams have visited various villages to create awareness about clean drinking water and personal hygiene. Interestingly, these water quality teams have not only taken the help of Pani Samiti, Self-Help Groups (SHGs) and Anganwadi workers but also made school and college students and teachers a part of this cleanliness drive.
By supplying rural water to the rural communities of the state through WASMO, Shri Narendra Modi has reposed faith in Jan Shakti and made it an integral part of our culture and value system. Is. United Nations Public Service Award – 2009 to WASMO under the category “Fostering Participation in Policy – Making Decisions Through Innovative Mechanisms” under the category “Institutionalization Programs for Drinking Water Supply Management in Rural Communities and People Internationally recognized for its “quality of drinking water”.
WASMO has tried hard to understand and implement the far-reaching impact of decentralization through a social mechanism, the positive impact of which can be clearly seen at the level of rural life. By the end of 2011, 72.22% of households in the state had access to taps, which is much better than the national level of 26.6%. The level of women facing poverty situation in rural areas is also decreasing day by day. Earlier 53.8% women lived their life below poverty line in villages, whereas at present this rate has come down to just 7.7%. In addition, the villages’ dependence on water tankers has also gradually reduced, in 2003, 3961 villages required water tanks, while by 2011 only 7 villages needed water tanks.
Special care has been taken in the scheme implemented by the state government for the supply of drinking water in the villages, which WASMO has implemented well in the state, apart from drinking water supply, there are many other issues like – fetching water from far away places, water The plan was implemented keeping in view the differences in the distribution of funds, dependence on external agencies, etc. The policy of bringing people at the center of governance and emphasizing local leadership undoubtedly complements Gandhiji’s idea of ”Surajya” which talked about strengthening the Panchayat Raj system. WASMO gave an opportunity to the people to work for themselves by being a part of the governance, which is really commendable.