The high-level NITI Ayog chief ministers’ sub-group on Swachh Bharat, headed by Andhra Pradesh chief minister N. Chandrababu Naidu, has recommended the levy of a cess on petrol, diesel and telecom services to finance the centre’s Swachh Bharat mission—a proposal whose acceptance would make fuel, phone calls and mobile data consumption more expensive.
This panel was formed to examine the financial requirements for implementation of the Swachh Bharat mission, suggest measures for meeting its budgetary needs and recommend institutional mechanisms for effective execution. Besides Naidu, the panel consists of the chief ministers of Bihar, Delhi, Haryana, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Mizoram, Sikkim, Uttarakhand and West Bengal.
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Following are the highlights of the report:
- Toilet construction and Behaviour Change Communication (BCC) have to be given an equal priority as the success of an ODF programme will ideally be measured against the increase in toilet usage.
- A professional agency needs to be involved both at the Central and State level to design the strategy, mode of implementation and to monitor and evaluate the progress of the campaign.
- The proportion of funds for BCC may be increased uniformly to about 25% of total funds, both in urban and rural areas, entirely funded by the Central Government.
- Involve political and social/thought leaders and celebrities on pro bono basis in conveying the message of sanitation.
- A chapter on sanitation practices should be included in school curriculum from the first standard itself. In each school and college, a team of students called the ‘Swachhta Senani’ may be formed to spread awareness about sanitation and cleanliness.
- Skill Development courses/ Diploma courses may be introduced in State ITIs and polytechnics/ colleges. This may also be integrated with the on-going programme for Skill Development.
- Centres of Excellence may be set up in the Institutes of Higher learning to promote research in the specialized fields of sanitation & waste management for producing quality doctoral and post-doctoral level researchers.
- The sharing pattern of funds for this programme between Centre and States may be in the ratio of 75:25, while for hilly States it may be kept at 90:10. A Swachh Bharat Cess may be levied by the Central Government on petrol, diesel, telecom services and also on accumulated waste produced by mineral waste generation plants like coal, aluminum, and iron ore. A State Level Swachh Bharat Kosh may be set up on the lines of the Swachh Bharat Kosh constituted at the Central level.
- A certain part of the CSR contributions by PSUs/Companies may be spent in the States where they are located.
- The first charge on the expenditure on 14th Finance Commission grants to Local Bodies may be given to the activities undertaken under Swachh Bharat Mission. Further, Government of India may consider releasing grants to States in rural areas in some of the North-Eastern States which are not covered under the 14th Finance Commission recommendations.
- The Centre and State Government may issue Swachh Bharat bonds.
- A dedicated Mission for the Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan may be set up both at National and State Level for coordination, guidance, support and monitoring of the programme.
- A National Technical Board may be set up to provide knowledge and handholding to State Governments and local bodies in the entire process from identification to final procurement of technology.
- Reputed research institutions, both at Central and State level, may be made technical partners for evolving cost effective waste management technologies.
- Tariff policy for power generated from waste to energy plants may be formulated by Ministry of Power and tariff for power from these plants may be fixed by the Electricity Regulatory Commission in a manner that such projects are viable. Also, the State Electricity Boards or Distribution companies may be mandated to compulsorily buy the power generated from the waste to energy plants.
- Output based subsidy may be provided to the private sector for sale of by-products like compost. The subsidy on chemical fertilizers may be reduced and correspondingly subsidy on compost may be increased to promote the use of compost.
- Provision of tax exemptions by the Centre and the State Governments to the private sector for setting up waste processing facilities to make waste processing a viable activity.
- Ministry of Urban Development and Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation may work out the indicative cost for procuring equipment for Solid and Liquid Waste Management projects. A model procurement policy may be devised.
- Liquid Waste Management projects may be undertaken through PPP mode. There is a need to locate bulk users of treated water like industries.
- Waste to Energy plants may be set up on PPP mode and the PPP framework may specify the responsibilities of the local body and PPP partner.
- Bio-Toilets may be provided where toilets constructed in slum areas cannot be connected to sewer lines.
- Operation & Maintenance of Community and Public Toilets in Rural and Urban areas need different approach; in rural areas O&M of public toilets may be done by Gram Panchayats while in urban areas pay and use system would be more feasible.
- Capacity building of local bodies and Government officials at all levels is required by regular training and updation of skills.
- Anybody contesting an election for local bodies must have an individual household toilet.
- Review all laws and rules on waste management for strict enforcement and penal provisions like bio-medical waste and e-waste including municipal laws etc.
- Mainstreaming of rag pickers in waste management activities.
- Eradication of manual scavenging activity through strict enforcement of the Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and Their Rehabilitation Act, 2013.
- Swachh Bharat Grading/Rating may be done for all Gram Panchayats, Municipalities, Blocks, Districts and States every year to promote competition among them.
- Assign one day each month and one week each year (culminating with 2nd October) for the activities of the SBA and to reward best performing Gram Panchayat, Block, ULB, District and State as per the ratings. This programme may include Prime Minister and Chief Ministers to give the awards.
- Dysfunctional toilets constructed under Total Sanitation Campaign to be treated as no toilets and therefore should be made eligible for fresh one time financial assistance.
- Incentive amount for construction of one unit of IHHL in urban and rural areas should be equal and enhanced to Rs 15,000/- in both urban and rural areas.
- NITI Aayog may provide a common platform for resolution of inter-sectoral and inter-departmental issues. NITI Aayog should develop, in consultation with Ministries and State Governments, an objective assessment framework for (i) assessing ODF and (ii) assessing ODF plus, that is, cleanliness. Further, it shall evolve verification protocol and National level guidelines to ensure that uniform procedure is followed in evaluating the ODF status by States.