New Delhi, Aug 30: Clean Ganga Fund (CGF), an initiative launched by the NDA government as part of its ambitious mission to cleanse the Ganga river, has received donations to the tune of over Rs 66 crore till August this year.
The Union Cabinet gave its approval for setting up of CGF in September 2014 with the aim of utilising the collection for various activities under the 'Namami Gange' programme for cleaning the holy river.
According to official sources, CGF has received around Rs 66.20 crore till August 14 this year. Of the amount, Public Sector Undertakings alone have contributed about Rs 13 crore between April and mid-August 2015.
Private companies have contributed over Rs 45 lakh in the current fiscal, while individual contributions stood at Rs 15 lakh during the period. Individual contributions, the sources said, range from anywhere between Rs 55 and over Rs 5 lakh.
Non-Resident Indians too have shown interest to make the river Ganga pollution-free. NRIs from Australia, Singapore and the USA have contributed for the purpose.
They have donated Rs 6.60 lakh between September 2014 and March this year and around Rs 2.50 lakh from April to August, 2015. The government received contributions of over Rs 50 crore in the period between establishment of GCF and the end of the last fiscal.
"People from all walks of life are donating. The trend of donations to CGF shows that it is picking up," an official source claimed.
The central government had announced 100 per cent tax exemption in Corporate Social Responsibility activities for donations to Clean Ganga Fund.
The Union Cabinet had given its nod last year to set up CGF for voluntary contributions from residents of the country, NRIs and Persons of Indian Origin and others to harness their enthusiasm to contribute towards conservation of the river.
The government had announced that the fund would be managed by a Trust to be headed by the Finance Minister, and the secretariat of the Trust will be set up in the Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation under the Clean Ganga Mission Director.
The funds would be utilised for various activities relating to cleaning up of the Ganga, including setting up of waste treatment plants, conservation of biotic diversity of the river, and development of public amenities, besides activities such as Ghat redevelopment and Research and Development and innovative projects.