New Delhi, July 21, 2023.

The Union Minister for Jal Shakti, Shri Gajendra Singh Shekhawat inaugurated a two-day National Conference on Rural WASH Partners’ Forum (RWPF) at Vigyan Bhawan in New Delhi, today to celebrate 1st anniversary of formation of RWPF.  The theme of the conference is ‘Accelerating Progress towards a Swachh Sujal Bharat’. RWPF is a platform set up by the Department of Drinking Water and Sanitation (DDWS) in collaboration with KPMG India for Development/ Sector Partners working in rural WASH space of India. The main objective of the Forum is to support the expeditious implementation of the Jal Jeevan Mission (JJM) and Swachh Bharat Mission-Grameen (SBM-G), the flagship missions of DDWS, Ministry of Jal Shakti, Govt. of India. The Forum has brought organizations working in the rural WASH sector under one umbrella for better collaboration & synergy, besides creating an environment of learning and knowledge sharing, finding scalable and cost-effective solutions, sharing best practices & success stories while avoiding overlap in efforts. 

Addressing the delegates, the Union Minister for Jal Shakti, Shri Gajendra Singh Shekhawat said, “Effort is being made by the government to improve the lives of the citizens. No one could have dreamt that the Prime Minister would be seen with a broom in hand cleaning streets, constructing toilet as a mason but with the grit and determination at the highest level, we achieved the goal defying all odds and the country became Open Defecation Free on 2nd October 2019. Under the visionary guidance of Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, we have achieved more than 12.6 Cr tap connections and more than 64% ODF Plus villages! The role of RWPF members is important as their ground presence will go a long way in ensuring last mile connectivity.”

The Minister of State for Jal Shakti & Food Processing Industries, Shri Prahlad Singh Patel, spoke on the collaborative effort by government, development partners, civil society and community in helping achieve the goal of provisioning tap water connection in every rural household. MoS said, “Pouring water from seven small kalash into one big kalash is symbolic of the effort put in by all to ensure that water of prescribed quality, in adequate quantity reaches every rural household and that ‘No One if Left Out’. This forum supplements efforts of DDWS in the implementation of Swachh Bharat Mission (Grameen – Phase II) and Jal Jeevan Mission through technical support, knowledge sharing and collaborative assistance of organizations having wide outreach and impact in the WASH sector”.

Speaking at the event Secretary DDWS, Smt. Vini Mahajan said, “It is a privilege to see the development and sector partners support both the Missions. KPMG India is supporting the initiative. The journey so far has been very exciting. We have succeeded in providing tap water connection to 64% rural households and 64% villages are on the way of becoming ODF Plus in aspiring category. No State has less than 1/3rd coverage. It is important that the community is empowered to take onus of the infrastructure so that long term sustainability is assured. The solutions should be locally available, affordable and easy to maintain.”