Donations for PM's pet swachh drive' a trickle

Lack of transparency led to decline in Swachh Bharat Kosh.

Hyderabad: Nationwide donations to Swachh Bharat Kosh (SBK) plunged in 2017-18. The Union Ministry of Finance received the lowest contribution in four years since the inception of the scheme.

In the first three years, the Centre received Rs.159 crore, Rs.253 crore and Rs.245 crore respectively. In 2017-18, this fell to Rs.4 crore. Lack of transparency in maintaining donor-wise details and not publicising the scheme enough could be among the reasons for the drop.

SBK was set up in 2014 to attract funds from the corporate sector under the Corporate Social Responsibility initiative, from individuals and philanthropists to achieve the objective of Clean India by 2019, the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi. Guidelines were formulated and a State Bank of India account was opened to channel the contributions, which could be made online through net banking or by debit/credit cards or cheque.

As and when the donor contributes, an automatic message with a digitally signed receipt and acknowledgement of the contribution is sent to the mobile number or e-mail ID mentioned.

When Rakesh Reddy Bubbudu sought to know through an RTI application why the contributions had fallen so drastically, he was told by the office of the Department of Expenditure (plan finance, Central-II), New Delhi that ‘donor-wise details are not maintained’. “Also, no money has been spent on publicising SBK out of the donations received. Lack of transparency and even awareness are two factors leading to a drop in contribution,” says Mr Bubbudu.

This newspaper contacted a donor from the city, who said on the condition of anonymity: “In 2015, through an online transaction, I donated '7,500 to SBK. Except for the acknowledgement, I don’t know much. Where has the money been used? The SBK website does not mention the fund utilisation. Irrespective of the quantum of contribution, each donor must be informed where the funds are being used. It was my first and last donation to SBK.”

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
Next Story