The Congress has warned Gurudas Kamat that he may lose his ministerial post if he does not not take the oath as minister of state with independent charge. Highly-placed party sources gave this warning after reports that Kamat is sulking over not being made a Cabinet minister in the reshuffle of portfolios today.
"He won't be a minister if he does not not take the oath (for elevation)," the sources said reacting to Kamat's sulk.
Kamat, who is MoS in the ministries of home and communication and IT, was today made minister of state with Independent Charge and given a new portfolio of Drinking Water and Sanitation.
A fifth-term MP, Kamat, (57), was elected from Mumbai North West constituency in the 2009 elections.
The department of drinking water and sanitation already has a separate office in Paryavaran Bhawan in south Delhi's Lodhi Road.
The acute shortage of drinking water is a raging crisis in India, particularly due to the drying up ground water levels.
This is mainly attributed to widespread pumping of ground water using powerful diesel and electric waterboosters in both rural and urban areas of the counrty.
Safe drinking water supply has always been a high priority for successive governments in India.
The central government had launched a programme to assist states and union territories to provide safe drinking water to all villages in India, help local communities to maintain sources of safe drinking water and give special attention for water supply to Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes.
Sanitation is another problem in India, particularly in rural areas. The level of investment in water and sanitation, albeit low by international standards, has increased during the 2000s.
According to a 2008 UNICEF report, 88% of the population in India has access to water sources. But only 31% have access to improved sanitation. (With IANS input)