AIR spotlight summary on “Swachh Bharat Mission”.
- Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014 said that when the girl student reach the age where she realises the lack of female toilets in her school, she leaves her education mid way. As they leave their education mid way, they remain uneducated. 2014 has seen a paradigm shift in the way the people look at swachh bharat. We have been having Nirmal Bharat programme which also stressed on toilets for girl child in schools.
- If 50% of the population remains uneducated because of lack of toilets, it is the liability on the nation and actually a shame on our country. What has happened from 2014 is that a great impetus has been given to take toilets to schools and ensure that every company that is doing CSR should focus on this.
Swachh Bharat Mission
- Swachh Bharat is a very holistic approach of the government and elimination of open defecation is one part of it. The major part of it is to keep clean every part of city, village and home It also entails swachh bharat in people’s mind. If we have a clear perception about anything then only we will be able to implement things. So first people have to clear their mind about all the old system of working. We have to bring in swachh bharat in overall perspective.
- The prime minister nominated 9 celebrities and asked them to bring in 9 more people so that the chain effect will continue and the people will take it up. People have taken it up in the social media by spreading the massage through innovative ways. It should not remain as elitist, fun oriented business; rather it has to be very seriously taken. The student community has to take a big role in this.
- Swachh bharat has to be a mission of the people, by the people facilitated by the government. This is project which should be taken forward by the civil society in a big way.
- Swachh bharat should be a passion rather than a mission. People should be passion to see their country clean in every aspect. The swachh bharat mission has created moral sense, awareness and responsibility. India is a vast country, so it takes lot of time to reach out to all the people.
Reasons for lack of cleanliness and open defecation
- Open defecation in Pakistan is 23%, 4% in Bangladesh, and countries in sub Saharan Africa and South East Asia are thinking to stop open defecation. The reason why open defecation is more in India.
- First reason is the political will was not there in the earlier years. The projects and ideas were present, but the thrust that was needed was not there. These things were stared earlier in those countries and they have worked towards it for a long time.
- Lot of people who travelled abroad from Bangladesh see the good things around and want it to be implemented in their country. This is not the case with Indian mentality.
- In India the practice is that at 7 am the sweeper will sweep all the roads and at 10 am all the shopkeepers will throw their garbage outside. So the whole day the streets are dirty. There is need to synchronise timing with the sweeper or place a dustbin in the roadside so the sweeper will pick up the garbage later.
- The swachh status report 2015 says that more than half of the rural population defecates in open. As per 2011 census more than 68% of rural population were going for open defecation.
- The data from UNICEF and other study says that almost 400 children under 5 in India die due to diarrhoea linked to poor sanitation and hygiene.
How to promote cleanliness and eliminate open defecation
- In rural areas the first step is to create that mindset in the people that elimination of open defecation if for their good and which improves their health. The girl child and the women are exposed to insecurity.
- Whenever people have to use toilets, there has to be water and electricity. The move to make India clean has to start with the schools and homes with a focussed attention for usability of the toilets.
- Villages have very small houses and much clustered places where there is no place to construct toilets. The ideal solution is to have mohalla toilets designated to each house where people will keep their toilet clean by seeing others. One advantage is that when the toilets are outside the home, there will be a peer pressure to keep it clean.
- There should be a proper database about what are the requirements in a particular area because we cannot force a toilet in a house where there is no place.
- For India constructing toilets is like a social work and not a development work. Once it is seen as a development work with country’s image, then the thrust will come and the people will realise how important it is and we should not lag behind other countries.
- The simple process to have safe drinking water is to boil the water. The bigger challenge is to make water available in the rural areas. There are many hand pumps which are not working. Projects have been there, lot of money have been allocated, and it is the lack of seriousness and accountability.
- In schools it is the responsibility of the teachers and they have to be oriented to ensure that the child knows about hygiene which also includes knowing how to use a toilet.
- It is the high time that we need a model village in each district which will have a repercussion in other villages.