Union Budget 2019-20: Focus shifts to SBM phase 2, women’s role in it

The mission will now aim to turn waste into energy and better solid waste management in rural areas

By Rashmi Verma, Heli Shah
Published: Friday 05 July 2019
The Budget aiding the growth of Self Help Groups can very well work in convergence with solid waste management in rural areas. Photo: Getty Images
Photo: Getty Images Photo: Getty Images

The Economic Survey of 2018-19 had indicated that, in the Union Budget 2019-20, the government will focus on the second phase of the Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM). Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman did just that while saying that SBM has had a positive impact on the state of health and sanitation.

After building more than 9.5 crore toilets and making 5.6 lakh villages open-defecation free under the mission, the focus will now move to technologies for turning waste in to energy and plan for solid waste management in rural areas, said Sitharaman in the Lok Sabha on July 5, 2019.

The Budget outlay of Rs 12,644 crore allocated for SBM (Gramin) in the current budget is around Rs 4,334 crore lower than the revised estimate of 2018-19.

The expenditure budget on externally aided programme under SBM (G) has increased between 2017-18 and FY 2019-20 and it is also the highest.

The Budget allocated Rs 10,000 crore for National Rural Drinking Water Mission — double than the previos year. This sharp shift is a sign of urgency in tackling constant qualitative and quantitative water issues the country faces.

The Economic Survey presented by Chief Economic Advisor KV Subramanian on July 4, 2019 identified the need of water sustainability, even in toilets.

Since the current Budget has aided the growth of self help groups (SHGs), this can very well work in convergence with solid waste management in rural areas. The Union Budget 2019 talks about creating SHGs in all districts.

Furthermore, for every verified woman SHG member with a Jan Dhan bank account, an overdraft of Rs 5,000 shall be allowed. One woman in every SHG will also be made eligible for a loan up to Rs 1 lakh under the Mudra scheme.

The SBM experience showcases the active role of SHGs in community mobilisation and toilet construction. In Himachal Pradesh’s Mandi, 4,490 women groups, comprising about 70,000 women, take turns to clean villages and sensitise people about total sanitation and water conservation.

In fact, the SHG of Kothi gram panchayat has innovative ways to manage waste. They collect polythene bags from households and weave those to prepare a sheet, which is then used to line compost pits to regulate its moisture level and aid in composting. The women also prepare bin bags, which are hung from trees along trunk roads, so people do not litter roads.

The incentives for SHGs as proposed under Union Budget 2019-20 is expected to further strengthen the role of women in Swachh Bharat Mission, specifically in solid waste management.

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