Banks, MFIs urged to give easy loans for building toilets
10 February 2016
Noting that close to 50 per cent of the rural population does not have access to toilets, the Centre on Tuesday asked banks and micro-finance institutions to enhance their credit disbursal for sanitation to achieve the goal of the Swachh Bharat Mission of making India free from open defecation by 2019.
Addressing a conference on 'Innovative Financing for Clean India' in Delhi, rural development and drinking water and sanitation minister Birender Singh said the finance ministry has included water and sanitation as new fields for priority sector lending by commercial banks, but this "monumental policy change must translate from intent to action".
He said there is an incentive of Rs12,000 for construction of a toilet for below poverty line families but to achieve universal coverage, there is need for easy financing by banks and other financial institutions.
The conference also laid emphasis on the need for creating strong synergy between self-help groups and Swachh Bharat Mission across the country.
Pointing out that sanitation is closely linked with poor health, low education status, malnutrition and poverty, the minister said that since the launch of the mission on 2 October 2014, more than 14.7 million toilets have been constructed in rural areas.
"But still close to 50 per cent of our rural population does not have access to a toilet," he rued.
Singh said the solid and liquid waste management component of the mission provides scope for small and medium private sector institutions to engage in waste management and improvisation of village environmental management infrastructure.
Rural development secretary J K Mohapatra said there is need for creating strong synergy between self-help groups and the mission across the country.
Urging the banks and micro-finance institutions to extend credit for sanitation and water sectors, he said the poor are not only credit-worthy and enterprising but they are extremely responsible borrowers also.
He also expressed happiness that the SHG movement is gaining momentum in the Indo-Gangetic belt and in Central India after its success in South India.