For a Clean India, be prepared for higher fuel and phone bills.
A group of chief ministers has recommended a cess on petroleum products, telecom services and waste generated by mineral-based industries as well as Swachh Bharat bonds to fund the ambitious campaign.
In a report submitted to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday, the National Institution for Transforming India (NITI) Aayog sub-group headed by Andhra Pradesh chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu also called for debarring from local body elections individuals who did not have toilets at home, sources said.
Launched a year ago, the Modi government’s flagship Swachh Bharat campaign aims for a “Clean India” by October 2, 2019 — the 150th birthday of Mahatma Gandhi. End to open defecation is among its top goals, as around 60% of homes in India don’t have toilets.
The sub-group made a generic recommendation about the cess leaving it to the government to decide on the final figure, sources said.
The panel, however, asked the Centre to provide Rs 15,000 to build a toilet, an increase of about Rs 3,000.
The panel didn’t provide an estimate of the money and the timeframe by which Swachh Bharat goals can be achieved. Discussions were on and states have been asked to provide data, sources said. The panel, which has 10 CMs as members, wants the Centre to bear 75% of the costs except in hill states, where its share would be 90%.
An official statement quoted Modi, the moving force behind the campaign, as saying that Swachh Bharat was a “difficult” but not an “impossible” task.
Waste disposal and treatment is another of the campaign goals. The panel wants a national technical board to evaluate and pick technologies that would aid waste disposal, a big civic and environmental problem.
The panel is for a cut in subsidy for chemical fertilisers and an increase for those generated from waste. Tax incentives for waste management activities have also been recommended along with waste-to-energy plants for urban areas and composting units for smaller towns and villages.
To spur local bodies into action, the panel wants all gram panchayats and urban local bodies to be rated annually for cleanliness.
Awareness is key to the success of the campaign. The panel wants 25% of the funds for creating awareness leading to behavioural changes and a chapter on sanitation in all school textbooks.