Now companies can go Swachh Bharat shopping. Looking at increasing the participation of the private sector in its flagship programmes, the Narendra Modi government is opening a marketplace to put up all the cleanliness projects it wants help with.
The Ministry of Urban Development is roping in industry groupings including Confederation of Indian Industry, FICCI and Assocham to link up with companies looking to spend their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) budget.
The industry associations will help the government in connecting private companies with urban local bodies that are spearheading Swachh Bharat initiatives. The interactive marketplace developed by the ministry lists out projects in need of investments.
Companies can choose these projects by connecting with the urban local bodies. At present, the private sector is not aligned with the needs of the Cleanliness Mission. So, while companies have the money and the government needs funds, they are not connected seamlessly.
In 2014-15, 52 public sector units and 409 private organisations in India collectively spent Rs 6,338 crore on CSR activities through 1,790 projects. Of this amount, the contribution to Swachh Bharat Kosh was Rs 15.5 crore, or 0.25%.
“Companies prefer to fund projects and get them executed through a third party rather than connect with the urban local body,” a senior urban development ministry official told ET.
“It is usually the impression the private sector has that urban local body means delayed decision-making. The companies are often not aware of the exact project plans of ULBs under the mission and are not aligned with the immediate demands. The marketplace is aimed at changing this.” Projects in the marketplace would include construction of household, public and community toilets, waste management infrastructure and information, education and communication initiatives.
The marketplace received a good response from PSUs. In the first phase, it listed 145 projects of which only 14 have completed transactions. About 51 companies showed interest, most of them government-owned.
Pic courtesy: Cooper Corporation
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