Two crore toilets under Swachh Bharat

Two crore toilets under Swachh Bharat

The government on Thursday proposed to spend Rs 30,343 crore to run the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan in rural areas during the 2018-19 financial year.

"(The) Swachh Bharat Mission has benefited the poor," Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said as he presented the Union Budget 2018-19 in Lok Sabha on Thursday. He said the government had already constructed over six crore toilets while implementing the programme. "The positive effect of these toilets is being seen on the dignity of women, education of girls and the overall health of family."

Jaitley said the government was planning to construct around two crore more toilets under the Swachh Bharat Mission.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan in October 2014.

The overall allocation for Swachh Bharat Mission for both urban and rural areas was proposed to be raised from Rs 16,248 crore in 2017-18 to Rs 17,843 crore in 2018-19. The allocation for the mission for 2017-18 had been raised to Rs 19,248 crore in the revised estimate.

The finance minister proposed that the government would spend Rs 30,343 crore - including Rs 15,000 crore from non-budgetary resources - on Swachh Bharat Abhiyan in rural areas during the next financial year. This would result in the construction of 1.88 crore household toilets and generate 16.92 crore person days of employment.

The Budget proposed to allocate Rs 22,356.60 crore to the Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation (MDWS), which oversees implementation of the Swachh Bharat Mission in rural areas. Though the government had earmarked Rs 32,333.06 crore for MDWS in 2017-18, the allocation was lowered to Rs 27,411.18 crore in the revised estimate.

Jaitley proposed an allocation of Rs 7,000 crore for the National Rural Drinking Water Programme (NRDWP) - another scheme run by the MDWS.

Jaitley said that cleaning the River Ganga was a "work of national importance". "It is our firm commitment," he said, adding that a total of 187 projects had been sanctioned under the Namami Gange programme for infrastructure development, river surface cleaning, rural sanitation and other interventions at a cost of Rs 16,713 crore. "Forty seven (of the 187) projects have been completed and remaining projects are at various stages of execution. All 4,465 Ganga Grams - villages on river banks - have been declared open defecation-free," he said.

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