The Centre on Tuesday asked banks and micro-finance institutions to boost their credit disbursal for sanitation to attract more people in rural areas to build toilets in their homes. Rural Development Minister Birender Singh said the government is already providing an incentive of Rs 12,000 to families below poverty line for constructing a toilet in the houses. However, the minister pointed out that banks and other financial institutions also need to facilitate easy financing to the poor to eradicate open defecation in the country and thus help achieve the goal of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's pet project Swachh Bharat Mission, reported PTI.
Speaking at the "Innovative Financing for Clean India" conference in New Delhi, Singh said the Ministry of Finance has included water and sanitation as new fields for priority-sector lending by commercial banks, but this "monumental policy change must translate from intent to action". According to the minister, 14.7 million toilets have been constructed across the country since the launch of the Swacch Bharat mission on October 2, 2014.