Environment Health

What is the Swajal Scheme?

Swajal Scheme

Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation focused to provide every rural person with adequate safe water for drinking, cooking and other domestic basic needs on a sustainable basis. This basic need should meet minimum water quality standards and be readily and conveniently accessible at all times and in all situations. Ministry has promoted a pilot project in the name of “Swajal” that is designed as a demand-driven and community-centred program to provide sustainable access to drinking water to people in rural areas.


Community-led potable drinking water projects to be called ‘Swajal’ focusing at providing sustainable and adequate drinking water in an integrated manner to the rural masses on a pilot basis. It is foreseen that the State government in partnership with rural communities; shall plan, design, construct, operate and maintain their water supply and sanitation schemes; so that they get potable drinking water and attain health and hygiene benefits; the State Government and its sector institutions shall act as supporter, facilitator, and co-financier and as per need shall provide technical assistance, training and cater for bigger construction works and sectoral contingencies.

Scope of coverage

In the first stage, it is proposed to select pilot project district in six States, viz., Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Uttarakhand, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan & Bihar under NRDWP. This will be implemented by the convergence of other programmes like MGNREGS, PMKSY, RRR etc. The districts are to be identified by the States to begin the project formulation in fast track mode.

The rationale of the Swajal Pilot Project

The demonstrated success of improvement in rural water supply and sanitation sector based on demand-driven approaches has contributed a lot to the replication of such models in other states, leading to the formulation of a central government level program for mainstreaming Swajal principles countrywide.

  • Partnership with village communities, NGOs and the government as the facilitator and co-financing has worked successfully.
  • The possibility of misappropriating and misusing the funds becomes minimal if transparency at each stage is adhered and observed by stakeholders.
  • Encouraging of PRIs is a viable and sustainable option for scaling up the decentralized service delivery model.
  • The change from a supply based model to demand-based model needed a new mindset and investment at different levels for acceptance of the new model.
  • Good facilitation and better techniques have to be put in place in community management model.
  • Some form of external help to communities is imperative to ensure long-term sustainability;

Investment Guidelines

Monitoring and Evaluation would be part of all these steps.

  • Preparatory Steps: This covers dissemination of the Swajal Pilot Project details and principles in the state and compilation of existing water sources database, and institutional mobilization to implement the program.
  • Scheme Selection: Schemes to be included under various categories are identified and pre-feasibility studies to collect basic data of the schemes is collected
  • Implementation of the Project Cycle: Planning and Implementation of the project, following a set of defined principles and activities and involving the community.
  • Post-Implementation Support: Aid to the GPs post-implementation to undertake operation and maintenance and monitor sustainability


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