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Framework to sustain India’s 100% ODF status

Topics Covered:

  1. Development processes and the development industry the role of NGOs, SHGs, various groups and associations, donors, charities, institutional and other stakeholders.

 

Framework to sustain India’s 100% ODF status

 

What to study?

For Prelims: Overview of ODF status and SBM-G.

For Mains: Significance and challenges in maintaining the status, need for sustained efforts.

 

Context: Union Jal Shakti Ministry’s Department of Drinking Water and Sanitation (DDWS) has launched a 10-year national rural sanitation strategy to sustain India’s 100 per cent Open Defecation Free (ODF).

 

Focus: The framework, to be in place from 2019 to 2029, will ensure that people sustain their usage of toilets. It will also focus on proper implementation of solid and liquid waste management (SLWM) — plastic waste, organic waste, grey water, and faecal sludge — in rural areas.

 

The strategy:

  1. They include the retrofitting of single pit toilets to twin pits or making provisions to empty pits every five years, repair of defunct ones, and construction of soak pits for septic tanks wherever not already present.
  2. A district-level training management unit (TMU) will be set up to provide oversight and support to gram panchayats (GPs) so that they ensure the operation and maintenance of sanitation infrastructure.
  3. The gram panchayats (GPs) are also supposed to conduct rapid assessment of water and sanitation gaps.
  4. Alternative funding: The government funding is the primary source of financing in the sanitation sector. Alternative self-financing by gradual leveraging of community resources in the form of tariffs for ODF plus activities is also suggested.
  5. It will follow the same 60:40 financing model as being followed till now in Swachh Bharat. It will be finalised after the cabinet’s approval.
  6. The framework also talks about state-specific strategies on menstrual hygiene management, including menstrual waste management, which may be supported under the ODF plus strategy.

 

Need To End Open Defecation:

At the time Swachh Bharat Abhiyan was launched, India had 450 million people defecating in the open, which according to the World Health Organisation (WHO) accounted for 59 per cent of the 1.1 billion people in the world practising open defecation. In the absence of toilets, people tend to use open spaces like fields, bushes, forests, banks of water bodies, or other open spaces rather than using a toilet to defecate and relieve themselves.

 

Need of the hour:

  1. Merely building new toilets is not going to change the game. India needs to move beyond that and take steps towards efficient faecal sludge management for a safer environment which does not pose any threat to the health of its people.
  2. Post construction of toilets, the government should establish a monitoring system that makes sure that the latrines are emptied regularly when they fill up and the waste is decomposed safely, and not into nearby rivers or oceans.
  3. In rural areas, focus needs to be laid upon panchayati raj institutions, which can be used as a platform to promote sustainable sanitation practices and creation of public-supported frameworks of organic disposal and utilisation of human waste.

 

Sources: the Hindu.