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Lok Sabha TV Insights: One Year of Swachh Bharat Abhiyan

Lok Sabha TV Insights: One Year of Swachh Bharat Abhiyan


Gandhiji started his Satyagraha campaign with sanitation in South Africa itself and it was his focus all his life. Sewers were introduced by British in 1870. As per Census 2011,  32.70 percent of rural households were having access to toilets in rural areas, while the National Sample Survey Organisation (NSSO) 2013 estimates 40.6 percent of rural households having such access.

Earlier Initiatives

From past 29 years, bringing sanitation in India has been a targeted approach. The programs have been renamed with few modifications in approaches and targets. Here is the list of government initiatives taken so far:-

  • Central rural sanitation program in 1986
  • Total Sanitation Program in 1999
  • Nirmal Bharat Abhiyan in 2012
  • Swachh Bharat Abhiyan in 2014

Lessons learnt from past

  • Toilet built on paper, but do not exist on ground.
  • Designing of toilets has been poor.
  • Open defection causes diseases, stunting in children and other health issues.
  • People are of opinion that, building toilet is no problem, but who will clean the pit once it is full. Which means social and cognitive issues are also there.
  • Government is not training administrators to change the attitude.
  • Technology is not problem and it can be applied according to geographical needs
  • In cities also, Storm water drainage is being connected with sewage.

Swachh Bharat Abhiyan/ Clean India Mission

This program was started on October 2, 2014 and will continue till October 2, 2019 with two sub-Missions – Swachh Bharat Mission (Gramin) and Swachh Bharat Mission (Urban). This program is being implemented by the Ministry of Water and sanitation. Its various targets have been divided for yearly implementation:

  • To bring change in people’s attitude
  • Private sector participation
  • To build 25 lakh individual toilet
  • To build 1 lakh community toilet
  • 100 % collection of garbage in 1000 cities in 1 year
  • Waste to energy projects

Above mentioned targets are few of them. Overall, during past one year only 25-20% targets have been achieved. According to the ministry of Water and sanitation, 111 million toilets were needed in 2012 and now in 2015 it is 96 million. The first year was mainly focused on identifying ambassadors and changing people’s attitude.

Problems experienced

  • Waste to energy projects are not impressive and also being opposed by people for using outdated technology
  • Focus in urban is only statuary towns i.e 4,041. So, other cities are being neglected.
  • Access to toilet in SC/ST and Muslim community is less than the national average, which shows regional variation, across socio-religious groups.
  • Economically good states are not doing very well.
  • Only 43 % sanitation is going to BPL, which means marginal groups are being neglected.
  • Training part in civil engineers and administrators is missing about garbage disposal, location of dustbin, etc. And also insensitive implementation machinery.
  • Municipal Corporation lacks capacity.
  • In urban areas also the implementation is not very impressive.
  • Solid waste even in remote areas also becoming major issues.

What solutions are available?


  • Change in attitude is already visible, but more awareness is needed.
  • Participation of citizen is needed.
  • Separation of garbage should be part of behavior of citizens
  • Composting should be made compulsory and profit making at society level.


  • Designing and modelling for efficient toilets is needed.
  • Bureaucracy needs to be trained and improving the management system, related with sanitation
  • Garbage management also needs focus along with toilet.
  • Skill building should tie up with garbage management, composting, etc. and SBA should adopt integrated approach.
  • Private investment is a challenge since only CSR will not be sufficient.
  • Strengthen the municipality and financing should be top priority
  • Need of social audit , law needs to be changed and NGO, RWA should be roped in and their opinion should have legal weightage
  • Collect garbage and take in outskirts and make fertilizer
  • Use of plastic in road making, recently it has been done in Chennai
  • One motivator in each gram Panchayats
  • Aadarsh gram yojna should converge on SBA targets composting, sanitation, garbage management, fertilizer units, etc