IN A bid to make Maharashtra free of open defecation by 2019, the cash-strapped government is now knocking the doors of corporate sector, asking to dole out cash from the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) funds to improve the sanitation facilities in the state.
The government has announced a Swachh Maharashtra Fund— raised through the corporate sector—which will make it possible to reach out to the needy in the Above Poverty Line sector as well. Pune is among the leading districts in the state implementing the Swachh Bharat Mission programme. “We have had funds outlayed for Below Poverty Line (BPL) population, however, there is a good section of population that has not been covered. The separate funds will be allocated for helping the Above Poverty Line population,’’ said senior officials from the rural sanitation department.
While the Centre has levied the Swachh Bharat Tax which is 0.5 per cent, this fund will be taken from donations, said the official, adding, there will be no additional tax burden on the people in the state.
However, the officials do have their reservations on the amount of collection from this sector. “The target is 2019 and in the coming years, there will be aggressive and extensive work for complete open defecation status,” said the official. “Those donating to the cleanliness fund will also get a tax rebate from the corporate sector” said a senior government official.
Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis will be the president of the Swachh Maharashtra Kosh. The water supply and sanitation minister, minister of state for urban development, chief secretary, finance secretary and urban development secretary will be members.
The urban development department has issued a notification saying that the Swachh Bharat drive has been implemented successfully in the state.
Under this drive, the government has decided to make Maharashtra free of open defecation by 2019.