Pursuant to the 73rd amendment to the Constitution In the year 1993, roles of Government had a paradigm shift in the drinking water sector from service provider to facilitator, thereby enabling the community to act as planner and implementer of village water supply schemes. There was also a shift from the supply-driven government-owned systems to decentralised demand-driven, community-owned water supply systems with emphasis on empowerment and capacity building of the local communities. The Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs) were given a constitutional status and had greater power in managing local resources and community affairs.
At the level of Government of Gujarat, it was decided to create a Special Purpose Vehicle for meeting the specific institutional needs for facilitation of community and empowering the user communities in the villages. Royal Netherlands Embassy (RNE) supported Ghogha Regional Rural Water Supply Project for 82 villages in Bhavnagar district that was designed as a community-managed project and project’s objectives were not achieved. With an aim to find out facts and circumstances that led to non-attainment of objectives, the RNE noted in its report that the existing institutional set-up had only a lukewarm appreciation and reception for software part of the project.
The mission members reminded the Government that priority was to be accorded to community-managed systems and follow a paradigm shift from role of provider to that of facilitator. The report recommended a government supported institution that would promote, support and monitor the community participation and community based management in water and sanitation projects in an equitable, sustainable and transparent manner. The objectives and approach of the sector reforms encompassed a whole spectrum of activities, needing diverse skills, expertise and infrastructure.