Tag Archives: Swachh Bharat Mission

World Bank approves US $1.5 billion loan for Swachh Bharat Mission Support Operation Project

More than 500 million rural people to gain access to toilets and other sanitation facilities with a focus on behavior change

sanitation-toiletsNew Delhi: The World Bank has approved a US$1.5 billion loan for the Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM) Support Operation Project to support the Government of India in its efforts to ensure all citizens in rural areas have access to improved sanitation – such as a toilet or latrine with a focus on changing behaviors – in ending the practice of open defecation by 2019.

Specifically, this project will support the rural component, known as SBM – Gramin (SBM-G), over a five-year period using a new performance-based program which links funds directly to results, ensuring that benefits are delivered to the people in need – more than 60 percent of India’s rural population.

Today, of the 2.4 billion people who lack access to improved sanitation globally, more than 750 million live in India, with 80 percent living in rural areas. More than 500 million of the rural population in India continue to defecate in the open, suffering from preventable deaths, illness, stunting, harassment and economic losses.

The SBM-G program focuses on ensuring usage of toilets along with their construction. States and their implementing agencies will be given incentives for meeting performance standards. Performance will be measured against the states’ ability to reduce open defecation, sustaining their open defecation free (ODF) status and improving solid and liquid waste management in rural areas. The financing mechanism promotes the leadership of the states, which will have flexibility in innovating and adopting their own delivery models.

One in every ten deaths in India is linked to poor sanitation. And studies show that low-income households bear the maximum brunt of poor sanitation. This project, aimed at strengthening the implementation of the Swachh Bharat Initiative of the government, will result in significant health benefits for the poor and vulnerable, especially those living in rural areas. “Incentivizing good performance by states and the focus on behavioral changes are two important components of this project Onno Ruhl, World Bank Country Director for India

The Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation (MDWS) will play the overseeing and coordinating role for the Program and support the participating states. Funds will also be used to develop the capacity of MDWS in program management, advocacy, monitoring and evaluation.

India has demonstrated extraordinary leadership in pursuing the ambitious SBM campaign and embracing the focus on behavior to complement the construction of toilets. It is our privilege to support the Indian government in this initiative and we look forward to working side by side. Annette Dixon, World Bank Vice President for the South Asia Region.

The World Bank will also provide a parallel US$25 million technical assistance to build the capacity of select state governments in implementing community-led behavioral change programs targeting social norms to help ensure widespread usage of toilets by rural households.

This program, built on lessons learnt from global and national sanitation projects, represents a fundamental change in approach and recognizes the importance of coupling investments in the construction of toilets to its usage. For it to succeed, large-scale social mobilization for behavior change is critical at the community level. hird party assessments and regular monitoring will provide reliable information on the project’s progress Soma Ghosh Moulik, Lead Water and Sanitation Specialist and the project’s Task Team Leader.  

Progress towards the key indicators – which will form the basis for releasing incentive grants to states – will be measured through independent verification assessments. National Annual Rural Sanitation Surveys will be carried out annually by a third party.

The project will also finance specific activities to strengthen the current monitoring and evaluation system to capture timely, relevant, and reliable information on the program’s progress. Support will be provided for systematic knowledge sharing and innovation, as well as capacity building and partnership.

The loan, from the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), has a maturity of 18 years including a grace period of 5 years.

Modi reiterates commitment to transform quality of life, infrastructure and services

Newsroom24x7 Desk

Prime Minister Narendra Modi
Prime Minister Narendra Modi

New Delhi: On the first anniversary of his government, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday said our objective is to transform quality of life, infrastructure and services. He also gave the assurance to the people that the goal is to “build the India of your dreams and that of our freedom fighters.”

In a letter to the people to mark his one year in office, the PM has said: “We assumed office at a time when confidence in the India story was waning. Un-abated corruption and indecisiveness had paralyzed the government. People had been left helpless against ever climbing inflation and economic insecurity.”

Stressing that urgent and decisive action was needed, the Prime Minister said runaway prices were immediately brought under control. The languishing economy was rejuvenated, building on stable, policy-driven proactive governance. Discretionary allotment of our precious natural resources to a chosen few was replaced with transparent auctions. Firm steps were taken against Black Money, from setting up an SIT and passing a stringent black money law, to generating international consensus against the same.

Uncompromising adherence to the principle of purity, in action as well as intent, has ensured a corruption-free government Modi has stated in his letter adding significant changes have been brought about in work culture, nurturing a combination of empathy as well as professionalism, systems as well breaking of silos. State governments have been made equal partners in the quest for national development, building the spirit of Team India. Most importantly, we have been able to restore Trust in the government, he has pointed out.

The PM has underscored the achievements of his government by stating that guided by the principle of Antyodaya, his Government is dedicated to the poor, marginalized and those left behind. He has further said in his letter: ‘We are working towards empowering them to become our soldiers in the war against poverty. Numerous measures and schemes have been initiated – from making school toilets to setting up IITs, IIMs and AIIMS; from providing a vaccination cover to our children to initiating a people-driven Swachh Bharat mission; from ensuring a minimum pension to our labourers to providing social security to the common man; from enhancing support to our farmers hit by natural calamities to defending their interests at WTO; from empowering one and all with self attestation to delivering subsidies directly to people’s banks; from universalizing the banking system to funding the unfunded small businesses; from irrigating fields to rejuvenating the Ganga River; from moving towards 24×7 power to connecting the nation through road and rail; from building homes for the homeless to setting up smart cities, and from connecting the North-East to prioritizing development of Eastern India.
In another letter to the people on economic issues, the PM said:

One year ago, you had entrusted me with the task of building a new India and putting a derailed economy back on track. We have achieved a lot. Economic growth has been revived, and is among the fastest in the world. Inflation is substantially down. Fiscal prudence has been restored. Confidence is up. Foreign investments have increased. This positive outlook is endorsed by major rating agencies and international institutions across the world.

Bold reforms pending for decades have been implemented. Diesel prices have been decontrolled. The Goods and Services Tax (GST) is slated to be introduced next year. By facilitating companies to Make in India through a focus on Ease of Doing Business, new jobs are being created. Cooking gas subsidies are being paid directly to beneficiary bank accounts under PAHAL – ensuring the right amount of subsidy, reaches the right people, at the right time. FDI limits in insurance, railways and defence production have been raised. Moreover, we have embraced the states as equal partners in national development, working as Team India in the spirit of cooperative and competitive federalism.

Political interference in public sector banking decisions is a thing of the past. Transparent coal auctions and allotments have mobilized potential revenues of Rs. 3.35 lakh crores to coal-bearing states over the lifespan of mines. And reform in the Mines Act has replaced a discretionary mechanism with a transparent auction process. To combat black money, a Special Investigation Team has been appointed and a new stringent law passed.

Nearly Rs. 1 lakh crores of public investment have been allocated in this year’s budget to improve physical as well as digital connectivity. A comprehensive transformation of the railways into a locomotive of growth has begun. Stalled highway projects are being restructured and revived. Power generation is at an all-time high. A new National Infrastructure Investment Fund has been set up with an annual government funding of Rs. 20,000 crores.

Economic growth benefits all Indians. Growth however, has meaning only if it empowers the poor, farmers, women, as well as middle and neo-middle classes of all communities. To enable us to continue paying remunerative prices to our farmers, we secured a permanent ‘peace clause’ at the WTO. The world’s largest financial inclusion project has brought banking to the doorsteps of the poor, opening a record 15 crore plus bank accounts with deposits of over Rs. 15,800 crores. An affordable social security system including pension, life insurance and accident insurance, has already witnessed 6.75 crore enrolments in its first week. MUDRA has been set up with a corpus of Rs. 20,000 crores to help our small businessmen, who despite being our biggest job creators have historically been starved of credit.

A lot has been achieved. However, this is just the beginning. There is much more to be done and I know your expectations are high. A year ago I gave you my word that while I might perhaps commit errors, I would always act with pure intentions and spend every available moment working for a better India. I have kept my word. I seek your continued support, suggestions and blessings in building the India of our dreams.

Prime Minister to Interact with Economists at NITI Aayog

Newsroom24x7 Desk

Prime Minister Narendra Modi
Prime Minister Narendra Modi

New Delhi, Feb. 3: Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who heads as chairman the newly constituted National Institution for Transforming India (NITI Aayog), will be meeting eminent experts and economists here on February 6.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley will be conducting this meeting.

Eminent experts and economists invited for the meeting include Ashok Gulati, Bimal Jalan, G. N. Bajpai, Mukesh Butani, Nitin Desai, Parthasarathi Shome, Pulapare Balakrishnan, Rajiv Lall, R. Vaidyanathan, Rajiv Kumar Shankar Acharya, Subir Gokarn, Swaminathan Aiyer, T.N. Ninan, Vijay Kelkar and Dr. Y.V. Reddy. The meeting will also be attended by Vice Chairman, NITI Aayog Dr. Arvind Panagariya and full-time Members of NITI Dr. Bibek Debroy and Dr. V.K. Saraswat.

Minister of State (MoS) for Planning Rao Indrajit Singh and MoS (Finance) Jayant Sinha, Chief Economic Adviser to the Government Dr. Arvind Subramanian and senior officials from PMO, Ministry of Finance and Niti Aayog would also attend the NITI meeting.

First Meeting of the Governing Council of NITI Aayog

Another important meeting called by the Prime Minister on February 8 is the first meeting of the Governing Council of NITI.The Government of India Resolution Dated January 1, 2015 through which NITI has been set up provides for a Governing Council comprising the Chief Ministers of all States and Lt. Governors of Union Territories.

A core objective of NITI is to strengthen cooperative federalism. Hence the consultative meeting with State chief ministers and Lt. Governors that was convened by the Prime Minister on December, 7 last year has played an important role in shaping the objectives, functions and Structure of NITI.

The States have been asked to offer suggestions for the success of focussed initiatives of the Modi Government like the Swachh Bharat Mission, Make in India campaign, Beti Bachao Beti Padhao scheme, Smart Cities, Housing for All by 2022, Digital India, Skill India, and Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana.

States show the way forward for building smart cities

Two-day stakeholders’ consultations on the directive of Prime Minister conclude today

States suggest

  • two-stage selection of cities
  • fixed tenures for Mayors and municipal cadres
  •  e-governance
  • online service delivery
  • hike in FAR
  • user-fee based concessions

Newsroom24x7 Desk

smart citiesNew Delhi, Jan. 31: The smart cities building initiative crossed a major milestone today with the states and other stakeholders coming out with the criteria for selection and ranking of cities and broadly agreeing on innovative financing models and urban governance reforms reforms to be implemented for building 100 smart cities.

The way forward emerged after intense discussions at the two-day ‘Consultation Workshop of States and Stakeholders on Smart Cities’ that concluded today. The important stakeholder consultations were organized by the Ministry of Urban Development on the direction of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to take the states on board before proceeding further with a the launch of the Smart Cities initiative.

The final recommendations of states and other stakeholders were today presented at the concluding Plenary Session chaired by the Minister of State for Urban Development and Housing & Urban Poverty Alleviation Babul Supriyo. Principal Secretaries and Municipal Commissioners from about 25 states, industry representatives and urban experts participated in the deliberations before coming out with the way forward.

Regarding selection of cities for development as smart cities, the States and other stakeholders have suggested the Availability of a Vision and City Development Strategy, Progress under Swachh Bharat Mission, Timely Payment of Salaries to Municipal Staff, Information and Grievance Redressal Mechanism and e-News Letter as basic eligibility conditions for participation in the ‘Smart City Challenge’ competition.

For further ranking of cities for final selection, the States have suggested the parameters and respective weightages that include: Self-financing ability (25% weightage), Institutional Systems and Capacities (25%), Existing Service Levels and committed plan of action for 3 years (25%), Past track record in implementing reforms (15%) and Quality of Vision Document(10%).

On the reforms front, the states have suggested two sets of reforms separately for small and metropolitan cities, land monetization, increased FAR norms with transparent policies, quick progress towards e-governance and online service delivery, Integrated GIS based Master Plans including for sanitation, mobility, land use, digital connectivity, disaster risk management and climate change, policy reforms, fixed tenures for Mayors and municipal officials, improving revenues through 100% collection of taxes and user charges, minimum educational qualifications for corporators and their capacity building, Economic Master Planning for cities before physical Master Plans, creation of municipal cadre, credit rating etc.

With regard to financing, the states have suggested that in addition to PPP model, they should be given the option of EPC(Engineering Procurement Contract), user fee based concessions to promote private sector participation, imposing impact fee on organisations that benefit from improved infrastructure, making cluster based projects to improve viability of projects for private funding, government support for making projects viable for private investors, unbundling of services to make projects investment worthy, creation of a low cost pooled fund with the support of Asian Development Bank, World Bank, Pension Funds, Sovereign Funds etc, Credit Rating of cities, policy changes to make urban projects viable such as support to sale of compost prepared from solid waste as given to chemical fertilizers, corporatization of services etc.

Minister of State Babul Supriyo has urged the state governments to devolve necessary functions, funds and functionaries to the urban local bodies so as to enable them to take up the challenges under smart cities initiative.

Shankar Aggarwal, Secretary Urban Development, and senior officials of the Ministry of Urban Development participated in the two day consultations inaugurated yesterday by Urban Development Minister, M. Venkaiah Naidu.