The Narendra Modi government is now looking at the private sector to aide its Swachh Bharat Mission and provide financial assistance for building toilets for poor families, union Rural Development Minister Birender Singh said on Tuesday.
He asked commercial banks and micro-financing institutes to come forward for credit disbursal to these families for construction of toilets.
“The finance ministry has included water and sanitation into the new list of priority sectors for lending by commercial banks. There is an incentive of Rs.12,000 for toilet construction for BPL (below poverty line) families, but to achieve universal coverage, there is a dire need for easy financing by commercial banks and other financial institutions,” the minister said at conference ‘Innovative Financing for Clean India’.
He noted the NDA government is committed to bring a monumental reform in country’s sanitation.
“More than 14.7 million toilets were constructed in the rural areas under Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s pet project Swachh Bharat Mission, but still close to 50 percent of our rural population still does not have access to a toilet,” he added.
He said his ministry’s policies provide lot of scope for small and medium private sector institutions to engage in waste management and improvisation of village environmental management infrastructure.
“Private sector needs to come forward in a big way for credit disbursal to achieve the goal of making India, an open defecation free country by 2019,” the minister said asserting sanitation is closely linked with poor health, low education status, malnutrition and poverty.
Rural Development Secretary J. K. Mohapatra stressed the need for creating strong synergy between self-help groups (SHGs) and Swachh Bharat Mission across the country.
Urging the banks and micro-finance institutions to extend credit for sanitation and water sectors, he also said that the poor are not only credit-worthy and enterprising, but they are extremely responsible borrowers also.
He also expressed satisfaction that the self-help group movement is gaining momentum in Indo-Gangetic belt and in central India after its success in south India.