Banks, MFIs must finance toilets in rural areas: Minister

With roughly half the rural population still to get a toilet, Rural Development Minister Birender Singh asked banks to offer easy finance to villagers to support Swachh Bharat mission.

“There is incentive of Rs 12000 for toilet construction for BPL (Below Poverty Line) families, but to achieve the universal coverage, banks and other financial institutions need to provide easy financing,” Singh said addressing  a conference on innovative financing for clean India in New Delhi.

Though Finance Ministry has included water and sanitation among the new priority sector lending by commercial banks, Singh said the “monumental policy change must translate from intent to action.”

Highlighting that lack of sanitation is the reason behind poor health, lower education rate, malnutrition and poverty, Singh said more than 14.7 million toilets have been built under the Swachh Bharat mission since its launch by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on October 2, 2014.

Despite the effort, 50 per cent rural population do not have access to toilets, he pointed out.

He said the solid and liquid management components of the Swachh Bharat mission enables small and medium institutions to adopt waste management and improvisation of village environmental management infrastructure.

Secretary for Rural Development J K Mohapatra underlined the need to synergise Self Help Groups and Swachh Bharat mission across the country.

Pointing out that the poor are credit worthy and responsible borrowers, he asked banks and micro-finance institutions to offer credit for sanitation and water sectors.
He said the Self-Help Group movement is gaining momentum in the Indo-Gangetic belt and Central India, after succeeding in the south.

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