|Clearly the budget has been steadily rising over the years, barring 2003-2004 and 2009-2010. Such regular funding without targets being met can be one reason there is a blame game of sorts going on. Mr Ramesh blames it on NGO leaders for poor awareness and non-performing states. However, J.S.Mathur, Joint Secretary, Sanitation department is reported saying that availability of water is the major impediment for this slow growth.
The centre has tried to prevent leakage of funds by taking steps like saying the last instalment of funds would only be released after 80% of expenditure is reported and utilisation and accounts certificates are issued.
But one weak link could be the Information, Education, Communication (IEC) efforts for the TSC. These three factors are perhaps the most important and key to its success. Though the Government has earmarked a maximum of 15% for this, the IEC and Mass Media campaign can only be taken up at the National and State level. The District level focus is mainly concentrated on wall paintings, folk media and so on.
To motivate the panchayats, the Ministry has also been awarding the ‘Nirmal Gram Puraskar’ (Clean Village Award) since 2003. Rewards are based on the population ranging from Rs 45,000 to Rs 5 lakhs. There was a dramatic increase from 45 Nirmal Grams in 2005 to 5,000 in 2007. Currently, more than 30,000 Panchayats have applied for the award.
Meanwhile, the Department of Drinking Water Supply had plans to formulate a strategy plan for up scaling the TSC and making India a `Nirmal’ Bharat. Working groups were formed; meetings were held with state governments, NGOs, panchayats and various other stakeholders. We are waiting to access this report as it was supposed to be ready by February, 2011. Meanwhile, we are waiting to see what we can achieve by 2017.