Union Minister of Rural Development and Drinking Water and Sanitation, Birender Singh, on Tuesday, urged 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.
The minister was addressing a conferenceon Innovative Financing for Clean India.
He said that BPL families are eligible for an incentive of Rs 12,000 for toilet construction but to achieve universal coverage, there is need for easy financing by banks and other financial institutions.
He also said that the 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, Singh informed that since the launch of the Swachh Bharat Mission on Oct 2, 2014, more than 14.7 million toilets were constructed in the rural areas, but still close to 50 percent of our rural population do not have access to a toilet.
He said that the solid and liquid waste management component of the Swachh Bharat Mission provides scope for small and medium private sector institutions to engage in waste management and improvisation of village environmental management infrastructure.
Secretary, Rural Development, JK Mohapatra, also urged the banks and micro-finance institutions to extend credit for sanitation and water sectors by saying that the poor are not only credit-worthy and enterprising, but they are responsible borrowers too.