In a bid to ensure proper sanitation, the government has decided to give funds to construct houses under Indira Awas Yojna (IAY) only if beneficiaries build them with toilets.
The cabinet committee on economic affairs on Thursday raised the per unit cost for building toilets under the Total Sanitation Campaign to Rs 10,000 while expanding the scheme to cover above poverty-line households, rural development minister Jairam Ramesh told reporters after the meeting.
According to a recent national survey, there are more mobile phones in India than toilets. Lack of proper sanitation facilities is a major health concern, resulting in one in 10 deaths in India, according to a World Bank report. A government report also suggests that 60% of open defecation takes place in India.
In the meeting, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh suggested that there should be an evaluation of the programme. He also said the sanitation programme should be linked to the 200 districts where malnutrition levels are high.
Announcing that the cabinet approval would soon be sought to revise the per unit cost for building houses under IAY to Rs 75,000 crore from the existing Rs 45,000 crore, Ramesh said, “We have also decided to give money only if toilets are built along the houses. The government will also give the additional Rs 10,000 to build toilets to the IAY beneficiaries.”
Ramesh said the plan panel has agreed to spend Rs 36,000 crore on sanitation during the 12th plan period. This would be a 360% hike from Rs 7,800 crore allocated in the 11th plan.
The cabinet also decided to set up an autonomous body — North East Centre for Technology Application and Reach — at Shillong to promote implementation of technologies that the public-funded research institutions came up with.