Swachh Bharat Mission and sanitation
Dr. Banarsi Lal
Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM) was launched by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi on October 2, 2014 with the objective to eradicate open defecation by 2019, the year that marks the 150th birth anniversary of Gandhiji, who wanted to make sanitation a priority in the country. The mission aims to end the open defecation, build more toilets and effectively manage the waste products across the nation. It has attracted the attention of each and every one not only in India but in abroad also.2.5 billion people across the globe do not have access to basic sanitation of which 1.1 billion still go for open defecation. Open defecation is mostly practiced by economically weaker section of the society. The main objective of Mission is to improve the quality of life among the people by promoting the cleanliness, hygiene, motivating communities and Panchayati Raj institutions to adopt better sanitation practices, encouraging the appropriate technologies for ecologically safe and sustainable sanitation. This particular mission has received cooperation from the states, on-states agencies and most importantly from the people. The mission also focuses on the healthy environment. The mission also provides functional toilets for elementary and secondary schools of the country. Some states have really shown remarkable results while others are on the verge of becoming open defecation free.In India, there are 686 districts, 6849 blocks, 2.51 lakh panchayats and 6.46 lakh villages. The target of the mission is to make India open defecation free(ODF) by 2019. The target is to construct 12 crores toilets in next five years.
Presently of India’s population has crossed one billion and around 65 per cent of its population is below 35 years of age. In order to make a strong working force India needs to adopt good sanitation practices across the nation. Health status of the nation directly influences its economic development.Inorder to achieve the desired results there is need to change the behaviour of the people. In some areas open defecation is practiced because of the attitude of the people as that has become a habit of the people. There is need to create awareness among the people to stop the open defecation. People should come to know the disadvantages of open defecation and understand the importance of toilets. The schools should have separate toilets for the boys and girls. The Government of India is making efforts to make Swachh Bharat Mission a nationwide movement by involving the prominent ambassadors, NGOs, media, corporate sectors etc. There are various success stories of the mission and many social workers, children, teachers, people with disabilities etc. who have motivated the different communities in this direction. They are considered as the Swachhta champions in the movement. Some villages have kept particular day in the week for cleaning their vicinities while some villages have nominated Swachhta agents. Local authorities rare cooperating the movement. It has been observed that many brides refuse to marry into the homes which do not have toilet facilities.The village Sarpanches and Panches are guiding the people for the construction of toilets in their respective homes. All this is possible when we make efforts with dedication and commitment. Social media can play a pivotal role for the dissemination of information regarding the mission. We need to seek support of every citizen of the country to clean up our nation. It can be made sustainable for the future generations.
The open defecation practice poses some ill effects on our health which ultimately have a cascading effect on the economic well- being of the nation.Around 50 per cent of the population in India follow the practice of open defecation.Only the construction of toilets will not work on but there is need to change the behaviour. There is need of coordination,capacity building, finance etc. for the mission. Swachh Bharat Mission is striving to improve the levels of cleanliness in rural areas by solid and liquid waste management and making villages Open Defecation Free (ODF). Special guidelines, strategies and steps have been put by the government to get Open Defecation Free status for all the villages. Sanitation is a state subject and state governments can decide their implementation mechanism and policies. The central government is complementing the state government to achieve the goals. This particular mission is different from earlier sanitation initiatives as it seeks proactive engagement with the corporate sector leveraging corporate responsibility opportunities. Swachh Bharat Mission plans to construct 12 crores toilets in rural India by 2019. It seems a difficult task but with proper planning it can be accomplished in the stipulated time. In 2014 Independence Day speech Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke “Has it pained us that our mothers and sisters have to defecate in open? Poor womenfolk of the village wait for the night; until darkness descends,they can’t go out to defecate. What bodily torture they must be feeling, how many diseases that act engender. Can’t we just make arrangements for toilets for the dignity of our mothers and sisters? “The sanitary disposal of human waste is sewerage in the developed countries. But in India due to the financial constraints and maintenance and operational costs sewerage is not possible. Neither the government nor the beneficiaries can bear the total expenditures, maintenance and operation of sewerage system. Also it requires skilled persons and good management for operation. Septic tank system is expensive and it requires large quantity of water for flushing. Periodic cleaning and disposal are another problems. In 1968 a revolutionary technology was involved the two pit pour flush toilet. Sulabh flush compost toilet is eco-friendly,technically appropriate, socially and economically acceptable. It is popularly known as Sulabh Shauchalaya and has been accepted by not only the Indian government but bymany other countries also. It does not require the scavengers to clean the pits. Sulabh flush compost toilets does not cause water pollution. It will be a centrally sponsored scheme through the Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation. It will place funds with about 1.25 lakh rural banks in India. As total number of Panchayats are 2.51 in India so, one bank will fulfil the needs of two panchayats. Sulabh approach has substantially improved environment quality and is based on the partnership of local governments and local communities. Toilets under this approach can be easily made and maintained. Sulabh organisation has also introduced pay and use public toilets. The public toilets include bathing facilities and other free services for the children, poor and disabled. Due to this approach more than two crores people have got low cost sanitation and 50,000 jobs have been created. Sulabh campaigns provide health education to millions of people. The organization’s trains the people to construct more and more toilets by themselves.
(The writer isScientist & Head, KVK, Reasi (Sher-e-Kashmir University of Agricultural Sciences and Technology-Jammu)