New Delhi: Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman unveiled her first union budget today (July 5) and proposed to expand the Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s dream project Swachh Bharat Abhiyan. Ms. Sitharaman, while delivering her Budget 2019 speech emphasized how the government will work towards ensuring swachh and new India – one that is free from all kinds of pollution and where every household and every single citizen has the most basic right – a toilet at home.
Also Read: Prime Minister Narendra Modi Calls Budget 2019 As A ‘Green Budget’
Here are the top highlights of Budget 2019:
- India’s ODF Deadline, Well On Track: Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said that India will meet its Swachh Bharat Abhiyan Open Defecation Free (ODF) deadline by October 2, 2019. She said she is happy and satisfied to report that the country has made tremendous progress in Swachh Bharat Mission, under which 9.6 crore toilets have been constructed since October 2, 2014 and more than 5.6 lakh villages have become ODF.
- Swachh Bharat Abhiyan 2.0 To Focus On Rural Solid Waste Management: Moving from toilets to waste management, Ms Sitharaman also proposed to expand the ongoing Swachh Bharat Mission. Ms Sitharaman added that now the government under Swachh Bharat Abhiyan 2.0 will focus on sustainable solid waste management in every village. She added that the government will not only sustain the behavioural change seen in people but also harness the latest technologies available to transform waste into energy and undertake sustainable solid waste management.
- End Of An Age-old Tradition Of Manual Scavenging: Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman talked about the plight of manual scavengers in India and said that the sanitation work will now be done by robots to “save manual scavengers their dignity”. Ms. Sitharaman also added that in a matter of two years over 300 entrepreneurs have emerged. Machines and robots have been deployed to do scavenging which also saved the manual scavengers their dignity.
- ‘Har Ghar Jal’ For All Rural Houses By 2024: ‘Ensuring India’s water security and providing access to safe drinking water to all Indians is a priority,’ said Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman thereby claiming that the newly formed Jal Shakti Ministry will work with all states to provide water to all rural households by 2024 under the ‘Jal Jeevan Mission’. She also said that the new Ministry will look at the management of our water resources and water supply in an integrated and holistic manner and will work with states to ensure ‘Har Ghar Jal’, to all rural households by 2024.
- Electric Vehicles, The Future: To encourage the use of electric vehicles, Ms. Sitharaman announced that a recommendation has been made to the Goods and Services Tax (GST) Council to reduce GST on electric vehicles from 12% to 5% and added the government will provide additional income tax deduction of Rs 1.5 lakh for interest paid on the loans taken to purchase EVs. Finance Minister also said the government has already approved Rs 10,000 crore for FAME II scheme on April 1, 2019 to encourage faster adoption of electric vehicles by providing right incentives and charging infrastructure.
- Green Roads For The New And Swachh India: Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman stressed on the importance of reducing carbon footprint for a greener and healthier India and said that the government had already constructed 30,000 km roads under ‘Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojna’ using green technology like plastic waste.
- Every Rural Family To Have Access Of Clean Cooking Facility By 2022: By 2022, which is the 75th year of independence, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman assured that every single rural family will have electricity and a clean cooking facility. She added that the household access to clean cooking gas has seen an unprecedented expansion with 7 crore LPG connections.
- Towards A Greener India: Keeping the focus of greener and cleaner India in mind, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman also added that 35 crore LED bulbs have been distributed in India leading to cost saving of Rs 18,341 crore annually. The LED lights are up to 80% more efficient than traditional lighting. Moreover, LED lights use less energy thereby reducing the demand from power plants and decreasing greenhouse gas emissions. Ms. Sitharaman said that India is going to be free of incandescent bulbs and CFL use has already become miniscule. The government will use the approach of mission LED bulb method to promote the use of solar stoves and battery chargers in
Also Read: Budget 2019: Swachh Bharat Abhiyan Target Will Be Met; Solid Waste Management Now The Focus, Says FM Nirmala Sitharaman
NDTV – Dettol Banega Swachh India campaign lends support to the Government of India’sSwachh Bharat Mission (SBM). Helmed by Campaign AmbassadorAmitabh Bachchan, the campaign aims to spread awareness abouthygieneandsanitation, the importance of buildingtoiletsand making Indiaopen defecation free (ODF)by October 2019, a target set byPrime Minister Narendra Modi, when he launched Swachh Bharat Abhiyan in 2014. Over the years, the campaign has widened its scope to cover issues likeair pollution,waste management,plastic ban,manual scavengingandmenstrual hygiene. The campaign has also focused extensively onmarine pollution,clean Ganga Projectand rejuvenation ofYamuna, two of India’s major river bodies.