In age of ‘clean-up’, corporates do their bit with toilets

Mar 02 2014, 00:10 IST
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Last year August when the Confederation of Indian Industry organised a conference on corporate involvement. Reuters Last year August when the Confederation of Indian Industry organised a conference on corporate involvement. Reuters
SummaryLast year August when the Confederation of Indian Industry organised a conference on corporate involvement...

open. More than 12 crore rural households in India do not have toilets, said the report, published on behalf of the Gates Foundation.

The government has recognised this issue and has approved funding of over Rs 20,000 crore in the Union budget, but less than 60% of these funds have been used, said the Deloitte report. To complicate issues further, data from the Census indicates that many of these government-funded toilets may be non-existent or not in use.

Under the new Companies Act, 2013, all profitable companies will have to spend every year at least 2% of  the three-year average profit on CSR activities. CII hopes this will spur more investment in sanitation programmes. GMR Varalakshmi Foundation, Adani Foundation, Ambuja Cement Foundation (ACF) and Biocon Foundation are among the other major firms offering a helping hand in improving sanitation in the country, according to CII.

Bangalore-based Arghyam, a charitable trust funded by Rohini Nilekani, which runs the India water portal that provides data on water and sanitation, says most corporates have built toilets, but they need to be looked after better. “This is part of the lifecycle of learning in developing infrastructure around the sanitation programmes. This needs to be based on setting up infrastructure and supply chain that needs to sustain the process longer. Rural sanitary marts are still not active and the business model around this has to be developed by corporates, rather than parking their CSR money in building toilets that are used as store rooms,” says Mala Subramaniam, CEO, Arghyam. Corporates must fund seed entrepreneurs coming up with such business models, she adds.

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