A national water supply and sanitation programme was
introduced in the social welfare sector way back in 1954.
Essentially, provision of safe drinking water in the
rural areas has been the responsibility of the states.
The Accelerated Rural Water Supply Programme was
introduced in 1972-73 by the Government to assist the states and Union
Territories to accelerate the pace of coverage of drinking water supply.
The entire programme was given a mission approach and the
ambitious project was named the National Drinking Water Mission (NDWM) in
This National Drinking Water Mission was renamed as Rajiv
Gandhi National Drinking Water Mission which principally works on the
premise of community based demand driven approach instead of the traditional
forced supply driven approach.
Actually, a paradigm shift in the scheme was brought
after a nationwide survey conducted in 1996-97 which revealed that even
poorest of the poor were” willing to participate” in the implementation of
the programmes, and also contribute towards operation and maintenance of the
scheme for drinking water.