Swachh Bharat corpus drying as corporates not chipping in

  • Moushumi Das Gupta, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Jul 31, 2016 00:52 IST
Railway staff members sweep a railway platform as they participate in the nationwide Swachh Bharat Mission in Dadar, Mumbai. (Kunal Patil/HT File Photo)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s call for making India clean by 2019 does not seem to have inspired corporates and individual donors to loosen their purse strings.

A special corpus set up by the government two years ago to mobilize funds for the Swachh Bharat Mission is drying up owing to lukewarm response from potential donors comprising public and private companies besides philanthropists.

Set up in September 2014, the Swachh Bharat Kosh (SBK) has so far received Rs 412 crore which includes interest. Of this, the Union finance ministry that administers the fund has already sanctioned Rs 382 crore to different states for implementing sanitation projects.

With corporate and PSUs shying away from making contributions, the corpus is presently left with just `30 crore. The paltry fund has set alarm bells ringing in the government with the governing council of SBK, headed by expenditure secretary, recently holding a meeting with corporate and PSUs to impress upon them to donate more generously.

Swachh Bharat Mission that aims to make urban and rural areas clean and open defecation free has a total outlay of Rs 1.96 crore till 2019, to be shared by the Centre, states and the private sector.

Industry insiders say corporate houses tend to spend CSR money on initiatives they patronize directly.

Veteran banker Naina Lal Kidwai, who heads the India Sanitation Coalition that FICCI under her founded 13 months ago, said that corporate houses “by and large” like to run CSR programmes on behalf of themselves.

“They are reluctant to donate to a fund where they do not have control over where the money is going. Corporates are skeptical of large central-run corpuses,” Kidwai added.

The total contribution from the private sector so far is a measly Rs 125 crore. One of the biggest donor is Larsen & Toubro with Rs 60 crore contribution followed by the Bajaj group with Rs 20 crore.

Spiritual leader Mata Amritanandamayi’s organization has donated Rs 100 crore.

Over two dozen Public Sector Undertakings have donated Rs 101 crore. General Insurance Corporation takes the lead among PSUs with a donation of Rs 15 crore. Individual donors have contributed Rs 6.27 lakh.

The government, too, has initiated ways to resolve the crisis. The ministry of drinking water and sanitation, which is implementing the program in rural areas has prepared a framework to engage the private sector.

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