Bengaluru, June 24: The Congress government in Karnataka on Wednesday pitched for making "Swachh Bharat" a centrally sponsored scheme, as it committed itself to make the state open defecation-free by October 2, 2018, a year ahead of the Centre's deadline.
'Swachh Bharat' was a flagship programme of the Centre and for the States to fulfill its objectives and take it up in a timely manner, it is absolutely essential to provide the necessary funding to the States, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah said.
In his address at the NITI Aayog's Chief Ministers Sub-Group meeting on 'Swachh Bharat Mission' here, he proposed a funding rate of 90:10 between the Centre and the States.
In addition, certain amendments would need to made to the Environment Protection Act, he said, noting that state governments do not have rule making powers on issues relating to environment.
"The States should be given a free hand in framing rules for regulating the environment," he said at the meeting attended by the Sub-Group Convener and Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu and his counterparts Harish Rawat (Uttarakhand) and Lal Thanhawla (Mizoram).
Chief Ministers of Maharashtra, Haryana, West Bengal, Bihar, Delhi and Sikkim, who are part of the Sub-Group, did not attend the meeting and they were represented either by ministers or senior officials.
The meeting is being held to discuss ways and means to achieve universal sanitation coverage, improve cleanliness and make India open defecation free by 2019, as a fitting tribute to Mahatma Gandhi on his 150th birth anniversary.
Siddaramaiah also announced to provide statutory backing, his government was planning to introduce the Karnataka Rural Sanitation Facility Guarantee Bill during current financial year.