‘48L rural toilets have come up in 6 months’
“We also plan to collaborate with corporate houses as a part of this project. This will be a part of their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiative,” Rural Development minister Chaudhary Birender Singh told Millennium Post on Monday.
“At the same time, funds would not be a constraint as the <g data-gr-id="39">Swachh</g> Bharat Kosh is likely to gather funds by way of contribution from corporates and other entities and the money would be utilized for construction of toilets in the rural areas,” he explained. The rural development ministry has a budget of Rs 2 lakh crore for <g data-gr-id="40">Swachh</g> Bharat Mission for building 11 crore toilets in 5 years.
After facing a budget cut in the ministries allocated to him, Singh had taken up the issue with the finance ministry. “I have already had a meeting with finance minister Arun Jaitley on this issue and the response has been positive. The demand for funds was not <g data-gr-id="47">only only</g> for rural development ministry but for the other two ministries which I am in-charge of – Panchayati Raj and Sanitation and Drinking Water. Even though most centrally sponsored schemes have been transferred to the states but we have been assured that financial aid will be given to us where there is an acute shortage of funds.”
The minister also stressed on the need for combating arsenic and <g data-gr-id="31">flouride</g> contamination in various parts of the country and has become a health hazard. “Tackling arsenic and fluoride contamination are priority areas we might even receive additional funding.”
He said the ministry of Sanitation and Drinking Water plans to generate funds by tying up with international organisations. He stressed on the need to increase the use of surface water and reduce consumption of ground water.
“Currently 15 per cent of drinking water comes from surface water sources while the rest 85 per cent is extracted from underground sources. We want to try and reverse this, and focus on generating water from surface sources primarily. For which we will be collaborating with international organisations to help achieve this. Our endeavour is to provide tapped potable drinking water in 80 per cent of rural households and piped water to 90 per cent of these households.”