The country will miss its target of becoming open defecation free by 2019 due to “insufficient allocation of funds” under Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s much publicised ‘Swachh Bharat Abhiyan’, a parliamentary panel said today. Expressing concern over reduction in funds for the clean India mission, the Standing Committee on Rural Development in its report noted that drinking water and sanitation were crucial areas and that the financial aid in these areas should not be reduced. The Department of Drinking Water and Sanitation under the Rural Development Ministry is the nodal authority for implementation of the clean India mission.
“..due to insufficient allocation under Swachh Bharat Abhiyan (Grameen), the Ministry will not be able to achieve goal of Open Defecation Free (ODF) by 2019,” the panel said. The committee further stated that reduction or insufficient fund allocation by NITI Aayog and the Finance Ministry would result in “reduction on the target of rural population to be covered with piped water supply.”
Against the demand of Rs 25,000 crore for financial year 2017-18 for Swachh Bharat Abhiyan (Grameen), an allocation of Rs 13,948.27 crore has been made for the clean India mission and Rs 6,050 crore for National Rural Drinking Water Programme, it said. Emphasising on the optimum utilisation of funds, the panel has suggested the Rural Development Ministry to ask for proper justifications from the NITI Aayog and the Finance Ministry in this regard.
“The Department of Drinking Water and Sanitation needs adequate funds so that their future development plans are not hampered and targets fixed are achieved fully as per their timeliness,” the panel added. Swachh Bharat Abhiyan was launched on October 2, 2014 with an aim to make the country ODF by 2019. The clean India mission is divided in two parts –Swachh Bharat Abhiyan (Grameen) and Swachh Bharat Abhiyan (Urban).