New Delhi: Union Minister of Finance & Corporate Affairs Nirmala Sitharaman held her 9th Pre-Budget Consultation meeting with the leading representatives from Water and Sanitation sectors here today in connection with the forthcoming General Budget 2020-21.
During the meeting, discussions were held on challenges faced in providing quality of water, sanitation, solid waste management and drainage in India. Experts also talked about removing disparities in accessing sanitation and quality of water.
Experts felt there is a need to scale up rural sanitation and hygiene besides providing sustainable solutions to water scarcity and health issues. Representatives from water and sanitation sectors also apprised the Finance Minister of ground realities and gave many suggestions to tackle current challenges.
Suggestions were related to areas of maintenance of septic tank; decentralisation of waste management system, focus on waste conservation; a bottom’s 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/model; collectivisation of sanitation workers; eco-friendly sewage treatment; measurement of service standards in core services vis-à-vis 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 among others.
The major participants in the meeting included Arumugam Pillai Kalimuthu, Managing Trustee, Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) Institute; Bin Chacko, Manager, Government Relations, World Vision India; Jyoti Sharma, President, FORCE; Manoj Ramchandra Sable, Chief Executive Officer, JAAGAR Enterprises; Shaonli Chakraborty, Swasti, (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene); V.K. Madhavan, Chief Executive Officer, Water Aid India; Sajeev S. Jha, Programme Manager, India Sanitation Coalition, FICCI; Avinash Sapru, Action Aid; Asadullah, Programme Director CBGA; Chandrakant Lahariya, National Professional Officer (Health Care, Access and Protection) to represent WHO India and Nicolas Osbert, Chief Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Section, UNICEF.
Along with the Finance Minister, the said aforesaid meeting was attended by Anurag Singh Thakur, Minister of State for Finance & Corporate Affairs; Atanu Chakraborty, Secretary, DEA; Ajay Bhushan Pandey, Revenue Secretary; Tuhin Kanta Pandey, Secretary, DIPAM; Parameswaran Iyer, Secretary, Department of Drinking water and Sanitation, Amarjeet Sinha, Secretary Ministry Rural Development; V.K. Paul, Member, NITI Aayog; Pramod Chandra Mody, Chairman, CBDT; Dr K.V. Subramanian, CEA, and other senior officials of the Ministry of Finance.
In this month so far, FM Sitharaman has held Pre-Budget Consultations with representatives of various Trade Unions and Labour Organisations. She also met with Chief Ministers of Haryana and Goa, and Finance Ministers of all states & UTs to discuss fiscal policy and met with economists of Kotak, Barclays, HDFC, SBI, NIFP, ABG and others to discuss Budget 2020.
Sitharaman also interacted with representatives of Wipro, Mahindra, FICCI, Patanjali, CII, ASSOCHAM and other industrialists to discuss the economy and polices, and met with representatives of of TERI, SIAM, ISB, Hero EVs and other experts in the infrastructure & energy sector, and climate change.
The FM met with representatives of CIL, FICCI, ASSOCHAM, FIWE, FIEO and other industry organisations to discuss trade & services, and with representatives of CII, IFFCO, NABARD, NRAA and other organisations to discuss the agricultural sector and agro processing industries.
FM Sitharaman also met with representatives of IIM, ISB, Apple, Paytm, Jio and others to discuss fintech, startups and digital economy, and later with reps of RBI, SBI, SEBI, ICICI, PNB and others to discuss the financial sector & capital markets.