The collection of a 0.5 per cent cess on services to fund the Swachh Bharat programme began this week. However, so far, 13 of the 29 states have not even spent their allotted funds on the government's flagship sanitation programme in rural areas.
The Swachh Bharat cess of 0.5 per cent,will go to the Centre, as unlike taxes, cess proceeds are not shared with states.
This cess is likely to raise Rs 1,000-crore annually for the government. The money will be used for Swachh Bharat. However, data from the Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation (MDWS) reveals that the states have Rs 2,000 crore of unspent money which the Centre had offered to run the sanitation programme,an amount double of what the Centre plans to raise through the cess. Even after considering the overspending by a few states, it is clear that there is still around Rs 1,570 crore left.
An analysis of the data available on the MDWS website also illustrates lack of consistency among the states over how they utilised the money allocated by the Centre for the sanitation programme. The spending pattern of states varied from spending zero on the Swachh Bharat programme to outspending their budget.
The financial progress data of the states show that while Goa has not spent any money on the Swachh Bharat programme, Mizoram has spent 5.07 per cent of its funds. Jammu and Kashmir has spent 10.18 per cent and Bihar 18.24 per cent. Uttar Pradesh has spent 38 per cent.
States like Manipur, Odisha and Punjab have over-spent. Manipur, for instance, spent Rs 32 crore, whereas the allotted amount is Rs 12.82 crore. Similarly, Odisha has spent Rs 452 crore against the available amount of Rs 262 crore. Punjab spent Rs 22 crore against available Rs 13.23 crore.
Overall, the highest amount has been spent by Rajasthan, followed by West Bengal and Odisha.
States have also been laggard in using their own budgeted money for the Swachh Bharat programme. The data available from MDWS reveal that ten states have so far spent less than 50 per cent of their budgeted money. These states include Bihar (12 per cent),Himachal Pradesh (15 per cent), Uttar Pradesh (26 per cent), Kerala (29 per cent), and Maharashtra (33.45 per cent). The total unspent money with the states is Rs 836 crore.