India’s poor depend on government-subsidized schemes for drinking water—that most basic of human necessities—but their access to this may often be a function of their ability to pay bribes.
Drinking water is a responsibility of the state governments according to the country’s Constitution. A Transparency International India-Centre for Media Studies survey of 22,728 households in the so-called below the poverty line, or BPL, category estimates that 9% of the 7.5 million BPL households had to pay a bribe to ensure access to water in 2007.
The experience of the urban poor was different from their rural counterparts, partly because the rural populace often has access to community sources of water such as ponds and wells.
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