November 10, 2009, New Delhi: The ‘Integrated Low Cost Sanitation’ (ILCS) Scheme aims to convert individual dry latrine into pour flush latrine, thereby liberating manual scavengers from the age-old obnoxious practice of manually carrying night soil.
ILCS Scheme was initially started in 1980-81 by the Ministry of Home Affairs and later on it was taken up by the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment. In 1989-90, the scheme was transferred to the Ministry of Urban Development and Poverty Alleviation and ultimately to the Ministry of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation (HUPA) in 2003-04.
The scheme has helped in constructing/converting over 28 lakh latrines so far, liberating over 60,000 manual scavengers. However, the scheme failed to perform well during the initial days of implementation due to various reasons. Therefore, to make the scheme much more attractive the Ministry revised the guidelines with effect from January 17, 2008.
Although the main objective of the ILCS Scheme is to convert low-cost sanitation units through sanitary two pit pour flush latrines with superstructures and appropriate variations to suit local conditions (area specific latrines), 25% of the total scheme fund is used for construction of new latrines for economically weaker section (EWS) households that have no latrines. Under the scheme, central subsidy stands at 75%, state subsidy at 15% and beneficiary share at 10%. The upper ceiling costs Rs 10,000 for the complete unit. An extra amount of 25% is provided to states, which fall under the category of difficult and hilly areas. 2009-10 is expected to be the last year of the scheme.
According to Kumari Selja, the minister for housing and urban poverty alleviation, within the last 1 year states such as Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal, Nagaland and Assam have already made an official declaration stating that they no longer have dry latrines in their states. Currently, only four states namely Bihar, Jammu&Kashmir, Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh remain to address the same. Under the revised guidelines of ILCS Scheme, 2,41,931 latrine units for conversion and 32,305 latrine units for construction have been sanctioned during the period from 2008-2009 to 2009-10 (up to 31.8.2009).
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