New Delhi: The Prime Minister had created a civic movement with the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, the objective of which was to make our cities and the country clean. A cess has been levied on citizens of the country to meet the objectives of this sanitation program. This is the third cess that the citizen have to bear not only on their income but also on their consumption.
Approximately Rs 6,900 crore have already been collected under this cess, and hence the deployment of the fund collected is crucial. Which is why LocalCircles asked citizens the question about its deployment. Around 37 percent of the 8,941 citizens polled said that engaging citizens and municipal corporation is the most important area for deploying these funds.
Municipal Corporations across the country are the nodal bodies responsible for the sanitation and cleanliness of cities. Unfortunately, due to systemic inefficiencies and lack of accountability most municipal corporations have either not done anything with Swachh Cess funds or do not know how to access this corpus.
Most Municipal Corporations are also disconnected with their citizens and do not know where these funds should be deployed in the city. For instance, both collection and disposal of waste is not organised in cities. As a result outskirts of most cities have become dumping ground for waste leading to pollution of both ground water and air.
Building toilets has been one of the major drive of the government, and a large portion of the fund have gone into subsidising both public and private toilets across the country. The crucial factor with regard to public toilets is that it needs to be maintained and remain functional. Which is why 31 percent of the citizens polled voted that the Swachh bharat Cess should be used in ensuring these toilets are functional.
Another 18 percent of them wanted that the Municipal infrastructure should be strengthened from the swachh bharat cess. And another 15 percent want municipal reforms and upgrades. Municipal Corporations are a major area for reforms and not much has been done by the state governments in this area. It is important that these corporations have skilled employees who are able to take care of key areas including sanitation, water and waste disposal. As there is no overwhelming opinion on the deployment of the Swachh Cess fund, citizens clearly seem to indicate that all four areas need the attention of the finance minister in the budget.
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Updated Date: Jan 19, 2017 18:28 PM