Budget Cut to Hit Water, Sanitation Plans

Low budgetary support will adversely impact Swachh Bharat Mission and National Rural Drinking Water Programme

Published: 29th April 2015 06:03 AM  |   Last Updated: 29th April 2015 06:03 AM   |  A+A-

BHUBANESWAR: As the Centre is planning for drastic cut in budgetary allocations to States under Centrally-sponsored schemes, low budgetary support will adversely impact Swachh Bharat Mission and National Rural Drinking Water Programme.

With only 12 per cent of the State’s households covered under rural sanitation programme by the end of last fiscal, the State Government has set an ambitious target of constructing 18 lakh individual household latrines (IHHLs) during the current financial year.

The financial requirement of the State to achieve the target is `2,160 crore (`12,000 per toilet). While the State Government has made a budgetary provision of `666 crore for Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM), the Centre is yet to release its share of `499.50 crore.

While the Ministry of Rural Development has not indicated its share of support for the State, official sources said the Central Government is seriously contemplating to reduce its share from 75 per cent to 50 per cent. Under Nirmal Bhararat Abhijan, the Central share for the rural sanitation programme was 75 per cent and the remaining 25 per cent was funded by the State.

Though State Government had set a target to construct seven lakh IHHLs during last financial year, the achievement till end of March 31, 2015 was 1.26 lakh IHHLs.

According to a report of Ministry of Rural Development, 78,75,904 households in the State are without toilet. The Rural Development Department had constructed 33,759 household latrines in 2013-14. The State has been performing miserably in Total Sanitation Programme for more than a decade. Even as the national average of toilet construction was 13,634 per day, it was 92 in Odisha in 2013-14 and 345 in 2014-15.

Anticipating 50 per cent Central assistance, State Government has made budgetary allocation of `727.11 crore for supply of safe drinking water in rural areas. The Centre has not released any fund for drinking water supply.

The State Government raised the issue of financial assistance from Centre during the recent visit of Union Secretary of Drinking Water and Sanitation Vijaylaxmi Joshi to Odisha.

Official sources said the Centre may drastically reduce the allocation as it is planning to give funds directly to panchayats. Under the restructured fund allocation module, each panchayat is likely to get at least `17 lakh per year for the purpose.

As the State is expected to get more funds as per the recommendations of 14th Finance Commission, there is every possibility that the Centre will slash its share under different schemes, the sources said.

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