Karnataka seeks Rs.500 crore for ‘Swachh Bharat’

Bengaluru, June 24 (IANS) Karnataka on Wednesday sought Rs.500 crore from the central government to expand infrastructure for the Swacch Bharat Mission in the state.

“The state government has invested Rs.400 crore to set up basic infrastructure over the last eight months. We require Rs.500 crore support from the central government to complete civic projects, including basic amenities in the city,” Chief minister Siddaramaiah said at a meeting of the mission’s sub-group here.

Participating in the sub-group’s third meeting, Siddaramaiah said as the state revenues were not enough to meet the challenging tasks, it was imperative for the central government to fund the mission’s work in the southern state.

“Though we have succeeded in improving sanitation to handle waste in rural and urban areas, much more needs to be done to make our state Swacch Karnataka,” he said.

Reiterating his government’s support to Prime Minister’s Narendra Modi’s vision of a clean India by 2019 as a tribute to Mahatma Gandhi on his 150th birth anniversary, Siddaramaiah said the central government’s suggestion to take funds for the mission from the devolution to states was not appropriate, though sanitation was a state subject and hence each state should provide resources.

“A net reduction of Rs.1,987 crore to the state after devolution under the 14th Finance Commission’s recommendations for this fiscal (2015-16) has adversely affected Karnataka, as funds were reduced for various centrally-sponsored schemes and modified the sharing pattern,” Siddaramaiah claimed.

As per the guidelines, Rs.955.76 crore will be spent on the mission, with central government’s share being Rs.716.82 crore and the state’s share Rs.238.94 crore.

“As the mission is the central government’s flagship programme, it is essential for the Centre to provide funds to states in 90:10 ratio to achieve universal sanitation coverage, improved cleanliness and make India open defecation-free by 2019,” Siddaramaiah added.

The mission is part of the NITI (National Institute for Transforming India) Aayog the NDA government set up on March 9, to clean up the country over the next five years.

Of the 10 chief ministers who are the sub-group’s members, only four, including Mizoram’s Lal Thanhawla and Uttarkhand’s Harish Rawat attended the day-long meeting, chaired by its convener, Andhra Pradesh’s N. Chandrababu Naidu.

Six chief ministers – Bihar’ Nitish Kumar, Delhi’s Arvind Kejriwal, Haryana’s Manohar Lal Khattar, Maharashtra’ Devendra Fadnavis, Sikkim’s Pawan Kumar Chamling and West Bengal’ Mamata Banerjee – were absent.

Maharashtra Home Minister Ranjit Vitthalrao Patil and Haryana Agriculture minister Om Prakash Dhankar, however, represented their states.

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