For the first time, the Centre will fund awareness campaigns on urban sanitation — a state subject — in 441 cities with a population over 1 lakh. The amount the Centre has set aside for this: Rs 250 million.
Another Rs. 35 million is being set aside to rate cities on their urban sanitation status. The money will be paid to three companies that will rate cities in specific regions. The rating will be complete by March, 2010.
Two special films titled Engines of Change and Towards Clean Cities by Bollywood director Kabir Khan will also be used in the campaigns.
Till now, the Centre has funded urban infrastructure through the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission to help states deal with growing, but unplanned, urbanisation, considering that efficient cities will be the backbone of India’s economic growth in future.
“From project funding, we are now also moving to awareness campaign funding,” said. Union Urban Development Minister S. Jaipal Reddy.
Being a state subject, Urban Development is the responsibility of state governments.
“The aim of this initiative is to see cities free from open defecation,” Reddy said. “It is ugly, inconvenient for women, and affects the health of the poor adversely.”
AC-Nielson will rate urban sanitation in cities in the north zone (Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Punjab, Haryana and Delhi) and central-southcentral zone (Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Orissa).
The Development Research Solutions will rate cities in east-northeast zone (eight northeastern states, Bihar, Jharkhand and West Bengal) and south zone (four southern states); and Centre for Environmental Planning and Technology University, Ahmedabad will rate those in the west zone (Maharashtra, Gujarat and Rajasthan).