In order to improve sanitation and drinking water supply, the centre will constitute two high-level working groups. The groups will also formulate strategic plans for the remaining two years of the ongoing 11th Five Year Plan and next two Plan periods.
While India has already achieved MGD targets for water, concerns have been expressed over slipping back of habitations from the availability of potable water and emergence of quality affected new habitations.
On the sanitation front, the targets are yet to be achieved as about 38 per cent of the rural population continues to defecate in the open. The working group on drinking water supply will have representatives from the States, Planning Commission, Ministries of Water, Panchayati Raj, Urban Development, Agricul-ture, Health, Women and Child Welfare, technical experts and representatives from World Bank.
Likewise, the working group on sanitation will comprise representatives from the States, Planning Commission, Ministries of Urban Development, Rural Development and from schemes like Sarva Sikhsha Abhiyan, National Rural Health Mission, Integrated Child Development Scheme, Indian Council of Agricultural Research and UNICEF.
According to officials, improved infrastructure in the rural areas will check migration from rural to urban areas and also ease pressure on the urban infrastructure.