Clean India, Green India!
1. Open defecation and sewage contamination of drinking and bathing water have been an endemic sanitary problem in India. In 2017, India was the country with the highest number of people practicing open defecation, around 525 million people.
2. SWACH BHARAT ABHIYAN or CLEAN INDIA MISSION is perhaps one of the biggest social initiatives by the government to enhance the hygiene standards of the world’s “SECOND LARGEST POPULATION”. This will axiomatically raise the health standards of the Nation. Conceived primarily TO CLEAN UP THE STREETS, ROADS AND INFRASTRUCTURE OF INDIA’S CITIES, SMALLER TOWNS, AND RURAL AREAS; THE PROJECT also envisages eradicating OPEN DEFECATION and promote BUILDING HOUSEHOLD OWNED AND COMMUNITY OWNED TOILETS WITH PROPER SANITATION across the country.
3. This ambitious project aims at achieving an OPEN DEFECATION FREE (ODF) INDIA by 02 October 2019, the 150th anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi. The plan included constructing 90 million toilets in rural India at an estimated cost of Rs 1.96 lakh crore(US $30 billion) and establishing an accountable mechanism of monitoring toilet use.
4. THE MISSION WILL ALSO CONTRIBUTE TO INDIA REACHING SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT GOAL NUMBER 6 (SDG 6) (United Nations stated objectives for a BETTER WORLD).
a) Officially launched on 2 OCTOBER 2014 AT RAJGHAT, New Delhi by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
b) 3 million government employees, school students, and college students from all parts of India participating.
c) 4,041 statutory cities, towns and associated rural areas.
d) Two submissions:
i. SWACHH BHARAT ABHIYAN GRAMIN (rural), under Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation.
ii. SWACHH BHARAT ABHIYAN URBAN, under Ministry of Housing and Urban Affair.
5. FUNDING: The finances for this mammoth project estimated to cost Rs 620 billion is being provided by multifarious agencies as under :-
a) The government has provided an incentive of Rs 15,000 (US$230) for each toilet constructed by a BPL family.
b) An amount of Rs 90 billion (US$1.4 billion) was allocated for the mission in the 2016 Union budget of India.
c) International Monetary Fund provided a US$1.5 billion loan and $25 million in technical assistance in 2016 for the Swachh Bharat Mission.
d) The programme has also received funds and technical support from THE WORLD BANK and THE CORPORATE SECTOR AS PART OF CORPORATE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY INITIATIVES.
6. EXECUTION: The execution has been undertaken by various departments and social agencies to ensure synergy in the action and optimize resources. These are as follows:-
a) The Government appointed PWD with the responsibility to dispose of waste from Government offices.
b) The Ministry of Railways planned to have the facility of cleaning on demand, clean bed-rolls from automatic laundries, bio-toilets, dustbins in all non-AC coaches.
c) The Swachh Bharat Swachh Vidyalaya campaign was launched by the Ministry of Human Resource Development, Government of India by participating in the cleanliness drive along with the school’s teachers and students.
7. INCENTIVES: To promote a sense of commitment and involvement in the project as also to monitor the status and progress SWACHH SARVEKSHAN carried out by Quality Council of India, is an extensive sanitation survey across several hundred cities. The progress and impact of Swachh Bharat Abhiyan and the performance of each city is evaluated on five parameters:
a) Municipal solid waste, sweeping, collection and transportation.
b) Municipal solid waste, processing and disposal of solid waste.
c) Open defecation free/toilets.
d) Capacity building and eLearning.
e) Provision of public & community toilet seats
Information, education, communication, and behavior change was assessed to enable mid course corrections in the campaign. The survey was carried out in 2016 and 2017 and INDORE and MYSORE topped the charts respectively while ASANSOL and DHANBAD were at the bottom of the charts.
8. COMMENTS: A laudable and noble concept which has had an impact on the health and hygiene perspective of a larger population. To revolutionize a mind change of a billion strong population is a gigantic exercise of epic proportions. The relentless campaign and the aggressive outreach through print, electronic and social media has had a visible impact in altering the mindset of the rural population whose hardcore and age old traditions are almost impossible to penetrate.
The positive fallout of this exercise is a perceptible paradigm shift in the civic responsibilities of the masses. Pride in their locality township and environment has assumed importance and it is hoped that this change will develop into a GROUNDSWELL to propel our great country to be the cleanest country on the PLANET.