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NEW DELHI : With an aim of making the Indian cities ‘water secure’ and ‘self-sustainable’ through circular economy of water, the Union Cabinet on Tuesday approved the Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation 2.0 (AMRUT 2.0) till 2025-26. Total indicative outlay for AMRUT 2.0 is 2,77,000 crore including central share of 76,760 crore for five years from FY 2021-22 to FY 2025-26. 

The government aims to provide affordable water and sanitation services by providing functional tap connections to all households, undertaking water source conservation/ augmentation, rejuvenation of water bodies and wells, recycle/re-use of treated used water and rainwater harvesting.   

“The project shall lead to ease of living by providing piped water supply and sewerage / septage facility to urban households," the government said in a statement. 

Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT), first focused national water Mission was launched in June 2015 to facilitate ease of living to citizens in 500 cities by providing tap connections and sewer connections. So far, 1.1 crore household tap connections and 85 lakh sewer/ septage connections have been provided. 6,000 MLD sewage treatment capacity is being developed, of which 1,210 MLD capacity is already created, with provision for reuse of 907 MLD treated sewage. 1,820 parks with area of 3,600 acre have been developed, while another 1,800 acres of area is under greening. So far, 1,700 flooding points have been eliminated. 

 “Taking forward the remarkable strides made under AMRUT, AMRUT 2.0, targets universal coverage of water supply by providing household tap connections in all 4,378 statutory towns. 100% coverage of household sewerage/ septage management in 500 AMRUT cities is other objective. Mission targets to provide 2.68 crore tap connections and 2.64 crore sewer/ septage connections to achieve the intended outcomes," the government said in a statement. 

Some key features of AMRUT 2.0 (U) include Pey Jal Survekshan which will encourage competition among cities for benchmarking urban water services. Mission will also encourage mobilization of market finance by mandating implementation of 10% of worth of projects in cities with population above ten lakh through Public Private Participation. Mission will also bring in the leading technologies in water sector in world through technology sub-Mission. Entrepreneurs/ start-ups will be encouraged in water eco-system. Information Education and Communication (IEC) campaign will be undertaken to spread awareness among masses about water conservation, the government said. 

Mission has a reform agenda focussed towards financial health and water security of ULBs. Meeting 20% of water demand through recycled water, reducing non-revenue water to less than 20% and rejuvenation of water bodies are major water related reforms. Reforms on property tax, user charges and enhancing credit worthiness of ULBs are other important reforms. ULBs will be rewarded with incentive on accomplishing the reforms. 

In yet another decision, the cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi also approved continuation of Swachh Bharat Mission (Urban) till 2025-26, with focus on sustainability of Open Defecation Free (ODF) outcomes, achieving scientific processing of Solid Waste in all cities, and managing Wastewater in cities with less than 1 lakh population in Census 2011 [cities not covered under Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT). A financial outlay of 1,41,600 crores has been finalized for SBM-U 2.0, including central share of 36,465 for the period 2021-22 to 2025-26 which is over 2.5 times the financial outlay of 62,009 crores in the last phase of the Mission.  

With continuation of the mission, the government aims all statutory towns to become at least ODF+, all cities with <1 lakh population to be made ODF++ and put in place systems and processes so that all wastewater is safely treated and optimally reused and no untreated wastewater pollutes water bodies. The mission also aims all cities to achieve at least 3-star Garbage Free certification. 

The Union Cabinet also approved affiliation of 100 Schools in Government and private sector with Sainik School Society. The government said that beginning from the academic year 2022-23 approximately 5,000 students are expected to receive admission in class VI in such 100 affiliated Schools. At present the existing 33 Sainik Schools have admission capacity of approximately 3,000 students in class VI. The proposal, government said, aims to create a confident, highly skilled, multi-dimensional, patriotic youth community with leadership qualities focused on providing top most priority to the nationalistic objectives. 

In another decision, cabinet also approved Nutrient Based Subsidy (NBS) rates for Phosphatic & Potassic (P&K) Fertilisers for the year 2021-22 (from 1st October, 2021 to 31st March, 2022). The government said in a statement that the financial implication of the move will be that net subsidy required for Rabi 2021-22 after deducting savings will be Rs.28,655 crore.  

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