Economy

Swachh Bharat Kosh gets tepid response from corporates

Surabhi New Delhi | Updated on January 16, 2018 Published on October 18, 2016

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Response to RTI query reveals the cleanliness fund got contributions of just ₹445 crore

Two years on and the corporate sector is yet to warm up to Swachh Bharat Kosh, which is aimed at funding Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ambitious mass cleanliness campaign of the same name.

Set up in November 2014, the Kosh has garnered just ₹444.69 crore in donations and interest by August this year. More worryingly, the donations seem to have petered down in the last one year, amounting to less than a ₹100 crore. Until October last year, the Kosh had received contributions of ₹349 crore. “Total funds disbursed till date is ₹381.33 crore,” said the Finance Ministry in response to a Right to Information request filed by BusinessLine.

Official data reveal that the top donors to the fund have also not changed much in the last one year. Mata Amritanandamayi Math, with a contribution of ₹100 crore, continues to be the largest donor to the fund, followed by Larsen & Toubro (₹60 crore) and Rural Electrification Corporation (₹25 crore).

Other top contributors include Indian Railway Finance Corporation, IFFCO, ITC Ltd and Nuclear Power Corporation, which donated about ₹10 crore each. According to the operational guidelines for the fund, the donations will be used for “improving cleanliness levels in rural and urban areas, including in schools” through activities such as construction and repair of toilets, and providing water supply to the toilets.

While the government had said that “individuals and philanthropists who have expressed interest in contributing to efforts to achieve the objective of Clean India by the year 2019,” will donate to the fund, the reality seems to be far different.

Though companies are allowed to discharge their CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) mandate through contributions to the Kosh, industry watchers say that most prefer to work on sanitation issues on their own.

“Working on activities such as Swachh Bharat is a good morale booster for employees and many companies do this through their CSR wings. Alternatively, companies also choose to work in other areas to fulfil the CSR requirement,” said an expert who did not wish to be named.

The government is now trying to boost donations to the Kosh from both private and state-owned firms.

“We have been in touch with private firms, and many have shown interest to donate to the Swachh Bharat Kosh,” Parmeswaran Iyer, Secretary, Drinking Water and Sanitation, said recently.

Meanwhile, the Department of Public Enterprises has asked public sector units to spend 33 per cent of their CSR funds on the Swachh Bharat Mission.

Published on October 18, 2016
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