Is PM Narendra Modi's flagship Swachh Bharat grounded before take-off? - Alternative Media Forum


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Tuesday, 21 April 2015

Is PM Narendra Modi's flagship Swachh Bharat grounded before take-off?

New Delhi(Iftikhar Gilani): Prime Minister Narendra Modi's flagship programme to clean India through specialised Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM) may be doomed even before its proper take-off, due to lack of clarity in guidelines and inadequate funding.

In a presentation before the parliamentary panel that scrutinised grants for ministry of drinking water and sanitation, secretary Vijaylaxmi Joshi, not only lamented the inadequate budget, but also lack of clarity on funding pattern and guidelines of Swachh Bharat Kosh.

Against the requirement of Rs12,500 crore, the department was allocated just Rs 2,625 crore, even though plans were afoot with states to achieve target of constructing Rs1 crore toilets in 2015-16.

The secretary said her department was still in dark to know the reasons for reduction in budget for the mission. "Further, there is also lack of clarity on funding pattern, presently centre and state share is 75:25; whether it would be 50:50 or 60:40," she told the parliamentary panel.

Earlier for 2014-15, the budget allocation for rural sanitation was Rs4,620 crore, which was reduced to Rs2,850 crore in the revised estimates. "Reduction was done by Ministry of Finance due to various reasons which included availability of funds and expenditure under the programme. In rural sanitation programme, there was some slow progress in expenditure reported during the initial months of 2014-15, mainly due to problems of implementation," said the Ministry in a reply to queries of parliamentary standing committee.

Out of Rs2,134 crore allocated to states, they could spend just Rs1,974 crore till the end of last financial year.

Jammu and Kashmir, which was allocated Rs51.05 crore could spend only Rs2.74 crore. Maharashtra with Rs236.11 crore in hand spent Rs135.84 crore, Telangana was give Rs105.62 crore, utilised only Rs32.04 crore. Except a few like Kerala, some north-eastern states, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh, all others are culprits.

The ministry in its presentation has estimated a requirement of rural component of SBM at Rs1,34,386 crore for attaining full household sanitation coverage by 2019. The funding, it said, will be made available through budgetary allocations, contributions to Swachh Bharat Kosh, commitments under

Sources in the finance ministry, however, said the funding pattern of the flagship mission was yet under discussion and clarity will come during finance minister Arun Jaitely's final budget speech in the second part of parliament session, which started from Monday.

"An impact of SBM is expected to be seen on ground by next year, when a full funding pattern will be put in place," a senior officer said.

Officials at the revenue department are already in process of preparing a list of elite services like telecommunications, insurance, manpower recruitment agencies, air conditioned hotels and restaurants which will attract the additional two per cent cess over and above the proposed 14 per cent.

No extra funds provided
Corporate Social Responsibility and through cess of 2% on services.

Launched on October 2, 2014, the ambitious campaign to improve sanitation across the country was supposed to give the civic bodies additional resources to strengthen cleanliness. But even the municipal corporations in Delhi under the nose of central government have complained that they were yet to get any extra funds for sanitation.

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