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Sitharaman Holds Pre-Budget Consultations With Representatives From Water And Sanitation Sectors

During the meeting, discussions were held on challenges faced in providing quality of water, sanitation, solid waste management and drainage in the country.

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Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Monday held her ninth pre-Budget consultation meeting with leading representatives from water and sanitation sectors.

She is likely to present her second Budget for the Modi 2.0 government in Parliament on February 1. During the meeting, discussions were held on challenges faced in providing quality of water, sanitation, solid waste management and drainage in the country.

Experts also talked about removing disparities in accessing sanitation and quality of water. There is a need to scale up rural sanitation and hygiene besides providing sustainable solutions to water scarcity and health issues.

The representatives apprised the Finance Minister of ground realities and gave many suggestions to tackle current challenges.

The suggestions were related to areas of maintenance of septic tank, decentralisation of waste management system, focus on waste conservation, a bottoms-up approach for effective implementation of water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) programme, demand-side management for water allocation, community water management programme in urban areas, focus on behaviour change communication, region-specific differentiated best practices and models, collectivisation of sanitation workers, eco-friendly sewage treatment, measurement of service standards in core services in urban and rural areas, incentivising waste water treatment and recycling, developing capacity to recharge ground water and focusing on women empowerment through health, water and sanitation.

The meeting was attended by Minister of State for Finance and Corporate Affairs Anurag Singh Thakur, Secretary at the Department of Economic Affairs Atanu Chakraborty, Revenue Secretary Ajay Bhushan Pandey, Secretary at the Department of Investment and Public Asset Management Tuhin Kant Pandey, Secretary at the Department of Drinking Water and Sanitation Parameswaran Iyer, Secretary at the Ministry Rural Development Amarjeet Sinha, NITI Aayog Member V K Paul, CBDT Chairman Pramod Chandra Mody, Chief Economic Advisor K V Subramanian and senior officials of the Ministry of Finance.

The major participants included Arumugam Pillai Kalimuthu, Managing Trustee of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) Institute, Bin Chacko, Manager for Government Relations at World Vision India, Jyoti Sharma, President of NGO Force, Manoj Ramchandra Sable, Chief Executive Officer of Jaagar Enterprises, Shaonli Chakraborty of Swasti, V K Madhavan, Chief Executive Officer of Water Aid India, Sajeev S Jha, Programme Manager of India Sanitation Coalition at FICCI, Avinash Sapru of Action Aid, Asadullah, Programme Director at Centre for Budget and Governance Accountability, Chandrakant Lahariya, National Professional Officer (Health Care, Access and Protection) to represent WHO India, Nicolas Osbert, Chief of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Section at UNICEF.


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