Arsenic affected habitations in India increase by 145% in the last five years

The minister of state of Jal Shakti Shri Ratan Lal Kataria recently provided a written reply about Arsenic affected habitations in the country.  According to him, the arsenic affected habitations in the country has increased by 145 % in the last 5 years.


In 2015, the number of arsenic affected habitations were 1800. This has increased to 4,421 in September 2020.  These habitations are mainly found in Bihar, Assam, Punjab, West Bengal and Uttar Pradesh. The state of Jharkhand that had no such habitation in 2015 has now two Arsenic affected habitations. The state of Karnataka that had nine such habitations in 2015 had none in 2020. Most of the arsenic affected habitations or found along the Ganga and Brahmaputra plains. Of all the states Assam had the highest share of such habitations.

Fluoride affected habitations

On the other hand, the number of fluoride-affected habitations have come down in the last 5 years. The number of fluoride-affected habitations in 2015 were 12,727. This has come down to 5,485 in September 2020. Of all the states Rajasthan had the highest number of Fluoride-affected habitations followed by Bihar.

What are arsenic affected habitations?

Habitations or group of households at a community level in a town or village. They are the smallest settlements that hold 10,200 households. The term arsenic affected implies that the underground water and the other water bodies such as Ponds and lakes in the region have arsenic levels greater than that of the threshold. According to the World Health Organisation the permissible limit of arsenic in drinking water is 10 micrograms per litre.  It is the same in India as well. In India the limit is fixed by Bureau of Indian Standards.

Role of Jal Jeevan Mission

The Jal Jeevan Mission that was started in 2019 aimed to provide drinking water to every household by 2024. Under the scheme, the habitations where water quality has been affected are prioritised. The scheme aims to install community water purification plants in these regions


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