New Delhi, April 21, 2012: After hitting headlines on lack of toilets and roping in filmstars Vidya Balan and Shah rukh Khan for campaign, Union minister of rural development Jairam Ramesh has got an “assurance” from the Planning Commission for a total allocation of a whopping Rs36,000 crores in the 12th five-year plan for Total Sanitation Campaign, which is now being restructured, against mere Rs7,816 crores in the 11th five-year plan.
In the restructured TSC, which will be called Nirmal Bharat Abhiyan, a five-year target is being set to eliminate open defecation in rural areas.
Mr Ramesh, who had been pressing for substantial allocation for sanitation, is working on restructuring of TSC based on the recommendation of a working group of the plan panel on rural drinking water and sanitation. The NBA envisages covering BPL and APL with individual household latrine in its restructured form.
With whopping Rs 36,000 crore commitment in the 12th five year plan, which is, however, yet to be approved by the National Development Council (NDC) as is the norms, the ministry is hopeful of covering all the 2.50 lakh Gram Panchayats in the country for total sanitation campaign. Though the ministry was allocated Rs 7,816 crores in the 11th five year plan, the actual spending was Rs 6,500 crore only.
As per internal assessment report of the ministry, Kerala appears to top the list of states for having covered 980 Gram Panchayats in total sanitation campaign, which leave 10 more to be covered.
However, other states have performed poorly, which includes Uttar Pradesh having covered only 1080 Gram Panchayats in sanitation campaign so far, leaving a tough job to cover another 51,621 Gram Panchayats in coming years. Maharashtra too has 18670 Gram Panchayats yet to be covered under the sanitation campaign, while Madhya Pradesh has 21003 such Panchayats. Even developed states like Punjab (12647) and Gujrat (12167) have large number of Gram Panchayats yet to be covered under open defecation free campaign.
With substantial hike in allocation for sanitation campaign, which includes Budgetary grant of Rs 3,500 crore for 2012-13 and “Dirty Picture” starlet Vidya Balan tipped to be a campaigner, the ministry is pinning hope on the target to eliminate open defecation in the next five years. (Source: Deccan Chronicle)