New Delhi, May 26: The road ahead for the Swachh Bharat Mission is fraught with challenges as a majority of companies focus on creating infrastructure like toilets instead of behavioural change programmes and concentrate mostly on rural areas, according to a report.
The report maps corporate social responsibility (CSR) trends in 'Water Sanitation and Hygiene' (WASH) in India of the 100 companies with the largest CSR budgets on the BSE 500.
"The Swachh Bharat Mission has catalysed the conversation around sanitation, right from the streets to the boardrooms of corporate India. "However, despite substantial support from the corporate sector, the road ahead remains challenging.
"We need to recognise that tackling this issue is as much about changing ingrained behaviour and social norms as it is about infrastructure," Naina Lal Kidwai, Chair, India Sanitation Coalition and Past President, Ficci said.
The report found that only 20 per cent of companies supported programmes that aimed to change the behaviour of individuals despite its critical role in eliminating open defecation.
Moreover, analysis of the types of interventions conducted according to location also depicted a strong preference for rural areas. 11 of the 12 types of interventions were conducted in rural vicinities.
The report cautioned that "lack of adequate WASH facilities in urban areas could pose serious health-risks to urban populations in India if sidelined".
Besides, Heavy Engineering and Manufacturing and Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) companies were more likely to support WASH programmes than other industries, owing to the strategic importance of WASH to these industries.
Of the 90 companies that supported WASH programmes, 45 companies belonged to the Heavy Engineering and Manufacturing industry, 19 to Banking, 11 to IT & Finance, 6 were Healthcare companies, 5 were from the FMCG sector, 3 from the Telecommunication industry and 1 was a Media and Entertainment undertaking.
Only 33 companies published information on the financial outlays and budgets of their CSR programmes.
Based on this data the median allocation to WASH programmes was approximately Rs 4.65 crore. Data indicated that the most popular state for CSR in WASH was Maharashtra with 17 companies reporting a programme in the state, followed by 16 companies working in Uttar Pradesh and 15 in Rajasthan.
Around 13 companies were working in Gujarat, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka. Most of these states also reported a high rate of open defecation. certain states with very high open defecation rates such as Orissa, Jharkand, Chhattisgarh and Jammu and Kashmir did not see high participation from companies, while parts of North-East India were left out.