swachh bharat
Employees from various departments collect brooms before a cleanliness drive at an Indian Railways office in Mumbai. [Representational Image]Reuters

Minister of State for Drinking Water and Sanitation Ram Kripal Yadav informed Rajya Sabha on Wednesday that a cess imposed to generate funds for the government's ambitious Swachh Bharat mission is not causing a rise in inflation.

From 15 November, the government started levying a 0.5% cess on all taxable services like air travel, mobile telephone services, bills, and eating in restaurants to fund Swachh Bharat programme.

Since the launch of Swachh Bharat Mission (Rural) in October 2014, the government has been able to built 1.10 crore toilets including 60.88 lakh toilets this year, Yadav said.

"As per data furnished by states on the online Integrated Management Information System (IMIS), 9.42 crore households are without toilets as on 26 November, 2015," IBNLive.com quoted Yadav, as saying.

The minister said that estimated funds worth Rs.1,34,386 crore are needed to implement the Swachh Bharat mission.

The Swachh Bharat cess is additional tax levied over and above 14% service tax. The government is expected to generate nearly Rs 400 crore during the remaining months of the current fiscal year from the cess.

Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had proposed to impose Swachh Bharat cess up to 2% in the budget for the financial year 2015-16 "on all or certain services, if need arises".

"Swachh Bharat cess is not another tax but a step towards involving each and every citizen in making a contribution to Swachh Bharat. The proceeds from this cess will be exclusively used for Swachh Bharat initiatives," a statement from finance ministry had said last month.

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