Swachh Bharat
Indians spend 30 paisa to Rs. 1.76 a month on sanitation. In Picture: Widows hold brooms as they participate in a cleanliness drive organised by non-governmental organisation Sulabh International on the eve of the 146th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, in New Delhi, India, October 1, 2015.Reuters

A high-level panel has suggested imposition of cess on petrol, diesel and telecom services to fund the Central government's Swachh Bharat mission.

The proposal, if implemented, will result in fuel prices, mobile call charges, and internet access on phone becoming costlier.

In a report submitted to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, a high-level panel of 10 chief ministers, formed to ascertain the financial needs of the Swachh Bharat mission, has proposed the central government to bear 75% of the overall cost of the mission.

The high-level NITI Ayog chief ministers' panel on Swachh Bharat, headed by Andhra Pradesh chief minister N. Chandrababu Naidu, has suggested that the remaining cost would be borne by the states.

A proposal to levy a cess on fuel prices and telecom services may not be a right step politically.

However, Naidu said that "Swachh Bharat was above politics."

"All of us have to work for the country as Swachh Bharat is one above politics. We have to work together," Livemint quoted Naidu as saying.

"Imposing a temporary cess to fund the programme will not be a bad idea if it is only for a couple of years," said N.R. Bhanumurthy, professor at the National Institute of Public Finance and Policy in New Delhi.

Besides, the panel, which also includes the chief ministers of Bihar, Delhi, Haryana, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Mizoram, Sikkim, Uttarakhand and West Bengal, has recommended a cess "on accumulated waste produced by mineral waste generation plants like coal, aluminium and iron ore to fund the programme aimed at ensuring a clean India by 2019."

Also read