The Government’s flagship projects, Swachh Bharat and Namami Gange have found few takers in India Inc.
The lukewarm response is reflected in the Data prepared by the corporate affairs ministry which shows that among all the projects of PM Modi’s government, the two cleanliness projects have received the least amount of funding from private companies in the year 2014-15. In total, the two projects have not received even 1% of the total spending of INR 6,337 Cr. The Data shows that as many as 460 companies spent a little over INR 6,337 Cr for CSR activities. This included 51 PSUs which spent INR 2,386.60 Cr.
Swachh Bharat Abhiyan received a meager 0.68% of the total spending, and the Clean Ganga Mission received only 0.25%.
Corporate India has spent over INR 42 Cr towards ‘Swachh Bharat Kosh’ under their corporate social responsibility (CSR) activities in 2014-15. The funds were given to improve cleanliness levels in rural and urban areas, including schools.
Schemes by the moDI government that have received the most support from India Inc. are education and livelihood enhancement schemes, getting over INR 1,462 Cr of the CSR fund. Also, schemes to eradicate hunger, poverty and healthcare have similarly received about INR 1,421 Cr from Companies.
As per the Niti Aayog report, the Swachch Bharat Mission, which was launched on October 2, 2014, envisages an investment of nearly INR 2.23 lakh Cr over a 5 year period for constructing community and public toilets, household toilets and scientific waste management. The Government is also considering long-term, tax-free Swachh Bharat bonds to raise funds.
The Government has also devised a 3 phase plan spanning nearly 18 years at INR 51,000 Cr to clean the river Ganga under the Namami Gange project. The Union Cabinet has already approved INR 20,000 Cr for the next 5 years for the ‘Namami Gange’ Programme which will integrate efforts to clean and protect the Ganga in a comprehensive manner.
Keeping in mind that the government will require major sums for these projects, the Ministry of Corporate Affairs had included donations to the Swachh Bharat Kosh and the Clean Ganga Fund as part of the CSR spends by Corporate India in October 2014, however the response has not been encouraging so far.
The finance ministry had also made a provision for 100 per cent tax deduction for contributions made towards the Swachh Bharat Fund. Additionally, the government is working on 30% of CSR spends on Swachh Bharat which might be announced soon.
The proposal is under consideration by a panel of Union ministers that is currently deliberating on ways to fast-track PM Narendra Modi’s top priority schemes – Make in India, Jan Dhan Yojana, Swachh Bharat, Digital India, and Skill India.