A day before Prime Minister Narendra Modi leaves for the US, the cabinet on Wednesday is set to clear the Swachch Bharat scheme that aims to have a toilet in every household and create a clean India by 2019.
Under the Rs 1-lakh-crore programme — to be launched on October 2 (Gandhi Jayanti) — the government will build individual toilets in 1.04 crore household and five lakh community/ public toilets in urban areas, and 8.8 crore toilets (the majority for households) in rural areas. A special purpose vehicle may be announced for building the toilets with private sector investment.
Other focus areas include better solid waste management facilities for over 30 crore people across 4,041 cities by 2019, a large-scale public awareness campaign on cleanliness, and the appointment of block-level sanitation coordinators.
The government is exploring the possibility of converging the mega scheme with existing welfare programmes such as the rural job scheme (MGNREGA) and Backward Region Grant Fund.
Clearance for the scheme will help the government project its social sector initiatives to a larger audience at home and abroad.
The plan, a major initiative of PM Modi announced during his Independence Day speech, banks heavily on private sector participation. The budget — of which Rs 62,000 crore is earmarked for urban areas and Rs 37,000 crore for rural India — would be made up of the government’s share, contribution from beneficiaries and private sector investment.
According to sources, Swachch Bharat is the main agenda for Wednesday’s cabinet meeting. “The government’s Expenditure and Finance Committee already cleared the scheme on Monday,” a finance ministry source told HT.
According to Census 2011, of 6.7 crore households in urban India, 12% defecate in the open while just 36% have piped sewer supply and 37% have septic tanks at home.