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Now, Government Requests Banks to Invest in Swachh Bharat Abhiyan

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Swachh Bharat Abhiyan

Narendra Modi has launched a series of campaigns aimed to improve the socio-economic conditions in India and we are all very impressed with the way they are being executed. Not only in India’s economic scenario getting better, it is also getting cleaner and healthier.

With the same zest, Modi government has reached out to the prominent banks in India to fund Swachh Bharat Abhiyan. Rural Development Minister Birender Singh confirmed the same about the government requesting helps in the matter of building more toilets for the poor as a part of Clean India Mission.

The Government has requested commercial banks and micro-financing companies to contribute to this initiative.

Talking about the initiative at ‘Innovative Financing for Clean India’ conference, Birender Singh said, “The finance ministry has included water and sanitation into the new list of priority sectors for lending by commercial banks. There is an incentive of Rs. 12,000 for toilet construction for BPL (below poverty line) families, but to achieve universal coverage, there is a dire need for easy financing by commercial banks and other financial institutions. Private sector needs to come forward in a big way for credit disbursal to achieve the goal of making India, an open defecation free country by 2019.”

Is Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan working?

I am very sure of the fact that everyone has not come to terms with the ‘Swachh Bharat Cess’ being levied on any commodity or service purchased. The funds from this cess are directly utilized in the creating of cleaner facilities for the poor. Funding also comes from the World Bank and Corporate Social Responsibility initiatives from various organisations.

As of August 2015, 80 Lakh toilets have been constructed as a part of the program, with Karnataka leading the pack with most number of toilets built in any state. Many corporations like Tata Consultancy Services and Mahindra Group have pledged their support for the initiative and started their own cleanliness drives in India. The government’s plan is to have a clean and tidy India by 2nd October, 2019, which is only about three and a half years away now.

The plan is to construct nearly 12 crores toilets across India by then and educate the rural areas about the need for cleanliness. However it was found that most of the built toilets remain unused because the rural population was unaware of their use. There has to be an equal importance given to education along with awareness spread in all regions in the country which do not yet have access to clean and safe defecation premises.

The way forward

The government has involved private industry participation in this project, which was of utmost importance to get funds from, apart from public’s money. However, involving more celebrities and heads of villages to instill the importance of sanitation in rural areas is need of the hour. There need to be more campaigns and advertisements run every month to ensure that the money being used is not wasted for other purposes.

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