Giving a big push to Prime Narendra Modi's ambitious Clean India mission, the government today proposed a major hike in funds provided for constructing household toilets in rural areas and providing better sanitation facilities in schools and anganwadis.
In yet another move, Union minister Nitin Gadkari, who is also in-charge of the ministry of drinking water and sanitation, announced the decision to delink MNREGA from toilet construction programme, saying that the scheme started by the previous UPA government did not work well on the ground.
"We have prepared a proposal for increasing the amount allocated for constructing individual toilets from Rs 10,000 to Rs 15,000. For constructing school toilets, the money will be increased from Rs 35,000 to Rs 54,000, anganwadi toilets from Rs 8000 to Rs 20,000 and for building community toilets, the money will be increased from Rs 2 lakh to Rs 6 lakhs," he said addressing an exihibition-cum-workshop on Innovation Technology For Sanitation and Water Quality in Rural Areas.
"We have prepared the proposal based on the suggestions given by rural development ministers of states. We will go with this proposal to the Cabinet," the minister later told reporters here.
Asked from where the government will find such huge money for completing the mission by 2019, Gadkari said, "We have three-four proposals from financial institutions like World Bank for this. We will also talk to them and try for a long- term loan from these institutions."
The previous government's decision to have a convergence between MNREGA and toilet construction programme did not work well and "we will delink public toilet from MNREGA," he said.
Noting that the money provided for constructing toilets was insufficient, the minister said, "We will provide the maximum money for the scheme."
Lamenting that even after 67 years of Independence, 60% people in India defecate in the open, he said that the dream project of Modi to build 'Swachh Bharat' by 2019 will be executed in a mission mode. Gadkari also said that massive funds will be mobilised for this purpose under the leadership of the Prime Minister.
"We will fulfil the dreams of Modiji," he said.