The World Bank has submitted the Report titled ‘India Diagnostic Assessment of Select Environmental Challenges’ to the Government of India. The report states inter-alia, “The report estimates the total cost of environmental degradation in India at about Rs.3.75 trillion (US$80 billion) annually”. The Report is being examined by the Government. This was stated by Shrimati Jayanthi Natarajan, Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Environment and Forests, in a written reply to a question in the Rajya Sabha today.
The Minister further stated that poor water supply is not a direct cause of deaths in children. However, drinking of unsafe water is responsible for water-borne diseases which can cause morbidity and mortality in children. As per WHO estimates, 11% of Child mortality in the age group of 0-5 years in India is due to Diarrhoeal disease.
The Minister further stated that the Government of India provides financial and technical assistance to States under the National Rural Drinking Water Programme (NRDWP) to supplement their efforts to provide adequate safe drinking water to the rural population. A budgetary allocation of Rs. 11,000 crores has been provided for NRDWP in 2013-14. Under NRDWP, the Government of India has given priority to cover partially covered and quality affected habitations with safe drinking water. Up to 67% of the allocations made to States under NRDWP can be utilized for coverage of partially covered and quality affected habitations. 5% of NRDWP allocation is earmarked for allocation to those States facing problems of chemical contamination in drinking water or with Japanese Encephalitis and Acute Encephalitis Syndrome affected high priority districts, the Minister added.