AIR spotlight summary on “Campaign for Open Defecation Free Nation”

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AIR spotlight summary on “Campaign for Open Defecation Free Nation”


Introduction

Swachh Bharat Mission is a very ambitious programme which was launched by the Prime Minister on 2 Oct 2014 with the aim of making India open defecation free by 2019. It also had several components like construction of household and community toilets, door to door garbage collection, eradicating manual scavenging, proper disposal of municipal waste, waste management and treatment and bringing in behavioural changes and awareness generation.  

 

Open Defecation Free Nation

Progress under Swachh Bharat Mission

  • Since launch of the SBM, there has been progress in the construction of toilets. The priority was given to the construction of toilets at individual households and if there was no space available the community toilets were provided. Public toilets were constructed at public spaces like railway stations and bus stations.     
  • In urban areas there has been progress in door to door waste collection. Transportation and processing of waste is also taking place at faster pace compared to previous year. There has been an increase in the number of compost plants.
  • The Ministry of Fertilizers provides Rs 1500 for market development assistance for per tonne of compost generated. For conversation of waste to energy, the Ministry of Power has made it mandatory that the power generated from waste to energy plants has to be purchased by the state DISCOMs.
  • Behavioural change is a very important segment to make the progress sustainable. Apart from approaching through celebrities, the government has established swachhata doot(community volunteer), engaging community organisations, engaging local celebrities and those people who are having respect among the people, NGOs and media to bring the necessary behavioural change.
  • The impact of poor sanitation has been disseminated to the people in an organised manner. Every day in India 400 to 500 children below the age of 5 die due to Diarrhoea. On a year basis 1.5 to 1.8 lakh children below the age of 5 die. In the present level of civilization this is unacceptable. The traces of polio and pneumonia can also be found. 1 gram of fecal material contains 1 crore viruses, 10 lakh bacteria and 1000 parasites. So open defecation can create a great harm to the society.
  • The money for construction of toilets is shared between centre and state government. The people must also contribute towards it to feel the sense of ownership.
  • There has been institutional support and capacity building, analysing the weaknesses and addressing them so that the objectives of Swachh Bharat Mission can be met. Through NGOs, women Self Help Groups (SHGs), advertisements through print and visual media the information is spread to the people about the importance of using the toilets to sustain the efforts of eliminating open defecation.
  • For those working for the mission, the government is strengthening and empowering them, providing skills and training, adopting the best practices and keep them motivating so that people see this as a respectable job.
  • In some rural areas women are forced to defecate in open which leads to risk their dignity and there will be chances of snake bites etc.    
  • As per World Bank report, per person in the country spends around 6500 rupees per year on health issues. If this amount is invested on sanitation, this will help to increase the productivity of people in particular and the nation at large.

Swachh Survekshan

  • Swachh Survekshan is a very important initiative of Ministry of Urban Development though which the government is bringing competition among cities towards creating cleaner cities and towns. The objective of the survey is to encourage large scale citizen participation and create awareness amongst all sections of society about the importance of working together towards making towns and cities a better place to live in. 
  • ‘Swachh Suvekshan-2017’ was done to assess and rank 500 cities and towns based on levels of sanitation and efforts made by respective urban local bodies and also to capture progress towards achieving ‘Open Defecation Free’ status.