Nirmal Bharat Abhiyan scheme for sanitation gets Rs.1,500-crore more

In a bid to banish the spectre of open defecation within a decade, the government has increased its spending on toilets for rural areas, hiking the amount to be spent for a household latrine from the existing Rs.4,600 to Rs.10,000.

On Thursday, the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs approved the increased allocation for the Total Sanitation Campaign — now renamed the Nirmal Bharat Abhiyan (NBA) — from Rs.1,500 crore in the last financial year to Rs.3,000 crore in the current one.

Under the revised scheme, toilets will be built using Rs.3,200 from the Centre and Rs.1,400 from the State government. The homeowner will contribute Rs.900, while the remaining Rs.4,500 will be leveraged through the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act.

The NBA scheme will no longer be restricted to families below the official poverty line. “I persuaded them that it was meaningless to have this distinction,” Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh said after the meeting.

The scheme brings solid and liquid waste management — usually found only in cities — to the rural landscape for the first time. Gram panchayats will receive anywhere between Rs.7 lakh and Rs.20 lakh for this.

Of the 2.4 lakh gram panchayats in the country, only 24,000 — less than 10 per cent — are completely free of open defecation. Sixty per cent of the world's open defecation occurs in India. In a bid to change this situation, the Drinking Water and Sanitation department has also seen its overall budget increase, with the Planning Commission approving a Rs.36,000-crore allocation for the 12th Five Year Plan Period, as opposed to Rs.7,800 crore in the previous Plan period.

Keywords: rural amenities

More In: National | News