The Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, the PM’s ambitious programme to clean India, is floundering in urban areas.
Eighteen months after Modi launched the nationwide drive that will end on October 2, 2019, states have used barely a third of the central allocation.
The ministry’s timeline required states to draw 40% of Rs 14,623 crore — the Centre’s share over a five-year-period — by March 31. But so far, it has received request to release only Rs 2,109 crore — less than half the targeted amount. Against this bleak demand, by March 31, Centre released a mere 12% of its share.
States, however, say the funds did not match the hype around the campaign.
Centre’s contribution towards the urban leg is 25% of Rs 62,000 crore. Of the remaining amount, states have to contribute Rs 4,874 crore and the rest has to be funded through various sources such as private sector participation, beneficiaries’ share and user fees.
Some states also blamed people for being reluctant to pay for construction of toilets.
The Centre’s toilet design costs between Rs 15,000 and Rs 20,000. An official in the UP urban development department said, “The Centre pays Rs 4,000 only for each toilet. The state’s minimum share is Rs 1,333 per toilet but we increased it to Rs 4000. The house-owner has to pay the rest. The targeted beneficiaries in our state are too poor to contribute.”
A Union ministry official rejected this criticism, arguing that states and municipal bodies cannot abdicate their responsibility.“Nothing prevents states from spending more... ,” he said.