Kamal Nath, the Minister for Urban Development has said that investments in urban infrastructure need to be supported by urban governance reforms in order to transform the urban sector and improve delivery of urban services. He was speaking at the National Workshop on “Improving Services in Urban Water Supply and Sanitation” in New Delhi today. Minister Nath said that even where investments have been made, adequate provisions have not been made for maintenance of these assets and the quality of services needs substantial improvement.
The Minister stated that Water and Sanitation will be a significant element of the next phase of JNNURM. It is envisaged that private sector will play an important role in providing services to the consumers. Steps are also planned for accessing capital markets (through municipal bonds, commercial debt) for investment in urban infrastructure. Innovative financing, including leveraging of idle assets will be emphasized.
Mr. Nath said that capacity building, creation of municipal cadres in states and of course active involvement of the Citizens in the entire process is essential. Citizens’ involvement in all stages will aid in improving accountability of service provision.
The Minister released ‘A comprehensive Advisory Note for the urban water and sanitation sector’ on the occasion that identifies five key areas for improving urban water supply and sanitation in India:
1. Clarifying the Mandates of Water Supply and Sanitation Service Providers
2. Improving the Governance of Water Supply and Sanitation Service Providers
3. Financing Water Supply and Sanitation Operations and Infrastructure Development
4. Regulating the Urban Water Supply and Sanitation Service
5. Building Capacity, Developing Procedures and Professionalizing Actors of the Water Supply and Sanitation Sector.
Participants at the 2 day workshop include officials from State/UTs Governments, Water Supply and Sanitation institutions, International and National Organizations, Industry, Water Associations and Sector Experts. The workshop also has international representation for sharing good practices from Australia, Brazil, Algiers and Scotland.
10 July 2012