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Union Budget 2018: From Toilet Construction To Ganga Clean Up, 10 Things On Swachh Bharat In Finance Minister Jaitley’s Budget Speech

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley lauded the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan’s progress of building over 6 crore toilets and said that air pollution in Delhi was a matter of concern

Arun Jaitley presenting the budget
  • Rs 16,000 crore allocated for Swachh Bharat Abhiyan (Gramin) for 2017-18
  • Centre to aid Delhi, Punjab and Haryana to tackle air pollution
  • AMRUT cities to get improved water supply and sewerage

New Delhi: The Union Budget 2018 has been tabled in the Lok Sabha by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley. The budget, which is effectively the last big budget before the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, touched upon several areas of importance such as sanitation, air pollution, health and environmental concerns.

“Indian economy has performed very well since May 2014. India has achieved an average growth of 7.5 per cent in the first three years. The economy is a $2.5 trillion economy and is the seventh largest in the world. The Indian economy is soon to become the fifth largest in the world,” said Arun Jaitley, Union Minister of Finance.

10 things in Finance Minister Arun Jaitley’s Budget Speech to speed up the Swachh India mission:

  1. On Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said that over 6 crore toilets have been built under the sanitation mission and set a target of building 2 crore more toilets in the financial year of 2018-19.
  2. Mr Jaitley also said that building of toilet was linked directly to the well-being and empowerment of women and maintenance of overall family health.

  3. The Finance Minister sanctioned an amount of Rs 16,948 crore for the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan (Gramin), the rural wing of the sanitation programme. The amount is lower than the last financial year’s allocation of Rs 19,248 crore.

  4. Recognising that air pollution in Delhi and the National Capital Region (NCR) was a matter of concern, Mr Jaitley said financial assistance would be provided to the state governments of Punjab, Haryana and Delhi for them to invest in machinery to combat air pollution.

  5. Crop burning, one of the major causes for air pollution in north India found a mention in the Finance Minister’s Budget 2018 speech too. Removal of crop residue will be subsidised in order to tackle the problem of crop burning, which poses a major threat to Delhi-NCR and adjoining states in north India.
  6. The Finance Minister spoke about the Ujjwala Yojana which aims to reduce indoor air pollution faced by women due to the usage of firewood for cooking purposes. The scheme, which targeted covering 5 crore women will now be covering 8 crore poor women.
  7. The Finance Minister said that the government was committed to ensuring a better environment, and will financially aid the development of bio-gas from solid waste. The government will launch a scheme for galvanising organic bio and agro resources, named Gobardhan which will see conversion of cattle dung and solid waste in farms to compost fertilisers, bio-gas and bio-CNG.
  8. Namami Gange, government’s major initiative to clean Ganga has picked up, said Mr Jaitley. He added that 187 projects to clean the river have been launched out of which 47 projects have been completed. All 4,470 villages in the Ganga basin across the five states of Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Bihar, Jharkhand and West Bengal have become open defecation free (ODF).
  9. 115 districts have been identified as ‘Aspirational Districts’ by the government for focused attention, to develop these as model districts. Access to clean drinking water and toilets are two indices that will be taken into consideration during the development of these districts.
  10. Under the Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT), where the government committed to improving infrastructure in cities, 494 water supply projects at a cost of Rs 19,428 crore and launch for 272 projects for improved sewerage infrastructure at a cost of Rs 12,429 crore was announced.
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