Swachh Bharat: Funds for treating solid waste cut 46 per cent

The Economic Times
NEW DELHI: As Swachh Bharat Mission reaches the halfway mark of implementation, the Centre has decided to halve the expenditure on solid waste management, the biggest head of the cleanliness drive. The government has scaled down expenditure on solid waste management 46 per cent to Rs 20,153 crore from Rs 38,000 crore approved by the Cabinet in September 2014, when it gave its assent to the Rs 62,009-crore mission. The urban development ministry has decided to follow the estimates given by a task force on waste to energy formed by the erstwhile Planning Commission. "We have informed the Cabinet about this change in costs. As per Prof K Kasturirangan committee report the recommended investment is Rs 20,153 crore. So, we will be following this," Praveen Prakash, director of Swachh Bharat Mission, told ET. The task force had submitted its report in May 2014. Although his report preceded the Cabinet decision, the government's estimated expenditure passed by the Cabinet remained Rs 38,000 crore. When asked why the outlay is being scaled down report after two and a half years of the report, the ministry did not offer an explanation. It, however, said, the central help will remain the same. Urban India currently generates 170,000 tonnes of solid waste daily. Only 19 per cent of this waste is treated. Since the implementation of the Mission, this capacity has increased to 21 per cent. However, the solid waste management initiative is facing problems. The response from the private sector has been poor. The ministry has increased viability gap funding for solid waste management projects from 20 per cent to 35 per cent now, ignoring the Kasturirangan panel's recommendation for 40 per cent VGF.
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