The Central government today asked the Banks and Micro-Finance institutions to come forward in a big way for credit-disbursal to achieve the goal of Swachh Bharat Mission of making India Open Defecation Free by 2019. Addressing a Conference on Innovative Financing for Clean India here, the Union Minister of Rural Development and Drinking Water and Sanitation Shri Birender Singh said that there is incentive of Rs 12,000 for toilet construction for BPL families, but to achieve the universal coverage, there is need for easy financing by banks and other financial institutions. He said that Finance Ministry has included water and sanitation as new sectors for priority sector lending by commercial banks, but this monumental policy change must translate from intent to action.
Asserting that sanitation is closely linked with poor health, low education status, malnutrition and poverty, the Minister informed that since the launch of the Swachh Bharat Mission on 2nd October, 2014, more than 14.7 million toilets were constructed in the rural areas, but still close to 50 percent of our rural population still does not have access to a toilet. He said that the solid and liquid waste management component of the Swachh Bharat Mission, SBM provides scope for small and medium private sector institutions to engage in waste management and improvisation of village environmental management infrastructure.
Addressing the gathering, Secretary, Rural Development Shri J. K. Mohapatra said that there is need for creating strong synergy between Self Help Groups, SHGs and Swachh Bharat Mission across the country. Urging the banks and Micro-Finance Institutions to extend credit for sanitation and water sectors, he said that the poor are not only credit-worthy and enterprising, but they are extremely responsible borrowers also. He also expressed happiness that SHG movement is gaining momentum in Indo-Gangetic belt and in Central India after its success in South India.