(The Gist of Kurukshetra) SWACHH BHARAT MISSION (GRAMIN): TRANSLATING MISSION INTO MILESTONE  [JULY-2019]


(The Gist of Kurukshetra) SWACHH BHARAT MISSION (GRAMIN): TRANSLATING MISSION INTO MILESTONE

 [JULY-2019]


SWACHH BHARAT MISSION (GRAMIN): TRANSLATING MISSION INTO MILESTONE

Introduction

  • Swachh bharat mission was launched on October 2, 2014 on the occasion of Gandhi Jayanti to achieve "Clean the India" by 2019. This mission was premeditated to accomplish the mark 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, the Father of Nation. Swachh Bharat Mission has got a Nation-wide acceptance and has mobilized masses and public-private sector corporations alike. The Swachh Bharat Mission-Gramin has become a peoples' movement, through which our Prime Minister has evoked a sense of responsibility among the people towards Clean India.
  • Unveiling of Swachh Bharat Mission is laudable not just for sanitation development, but also for bringing about the behaviour and mindset of change in millions of Indians. The mission is a community-led movement focused on building toilets and educating people about the importance of sanitation and cleanliness.

  • Mahatma Gandhi had rightly quoted, “Uncleanliness of the mind is more dangerous than that of the body. The latter, however, is an indication of the former” and this campaign aims at making every single Indian aware of the importance of hygiene at physical and mental levels.

Funding SBM-G

  • The government proposes to spend 1.34 lakh crores to construct 11.11 crores toilets in the rural areas by October 2019. The funding for SBM-G is provided by Central and State government and from Swachh Bharat Kosh while some funding comes through multilateral agencies. The Swachh Bharat Kosh has been established to collect and mobilise funds from non-governmental agencies and corporate sectors.

Social and Economic Impact of SBM-G

  • Swachh Bharat Mission-Gramin will improve the quality of life of people of rural areas by promoting a clean and hygienic environment. A country can progress only if the citizens of the nation are healthy and sanitation plays a key role in it. Healthy citizens significantly contribute in the socio-economic development of a nation.
  • According to a study conducted in 2017 by UNICEF on the request of Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation, average households in ODF villages, accrued of Rs. 50,000 per year there was a property increase of Rs. 19,000.
  • Summing up all of it, the total benefit bagged by households exceeded the cost by 4.7 times. This survey was conducted on a sample of 18,376 respondents representing of 10,068 rural households, randomly selected from 550 Gram Panchayats across 12 states.
  • It is hard to measure the intangible benefits of SBM-G campaign but the impact on the dignity of both nation and individual is remarkable. The quality of life and social status of rural citizens has been elevated.
  • SBM-G is one of the largest behavioural change programme initiated by a government in the world covering 18 per cent of the world population. It strengthens the safety of women, girls and children and increases their workforce participation because of better health and hygiene.
  • Due to decline in open defecation, the overall health situation improved resulting in great substantial reduction in the medical expenses and a drop in mortality. Attainment of 100 per cent toilet coverage would prevent 3 lakh deaths due to various waterborne diseases (World Health Organisation).
  • With a focused strategy involving various stakeholders in achieving the mission, powered by strong political will and political leadership driven by dedicated officials, the biggest achievement of the mission has become 'making sanitation everyone's business'.

Sustainable Concerns and Future Strategy

  • The issues of sanitation need to be dealt through a sustainable process i.e., without depletion over period of time and in order to ensure this sustainability, we need to march an extra mile.
  • Just building a toilet is not enough, it also needs to be maintained. People will not prefer to use uncleaned and unhygienic toilets. Thus, proper hygiene and use of toilets is to be done in a sustainable manner. There should be water availability and proper knowledge about waste disposal in order to maintain the toilets.
  • During the past five years, almost all the 1 have achieved 100 per cent sanitation; sanitation campaigns need to be organized in order to educate the people the hygienic of toilet and economic use of water.
  • The biggest challenge that lies ahead is not 100 per cent toilets for individual households but the issue of hygiene in lieu of maintenance, water supply and cleanliness. Also many people do not maintain the hygiene of their toilets by properly flushing, cleaning toilets or using sanitary cleaning material such as phenyl etc.
  • People look forward for good quality latrine suiting to their requirement and to set up for such needs, financial support from various financial institutions are required. So, to promote defecation free environment, government should make the provision for interest-free loan to these beneficiaries.
  • It is a movement which demands behavioural change and persistent efforts are needed to bring such a social change. Recognizing efforts through appreciations and awards to various social workers, villages, Gram Panchayats, blocks and districts could build commitment towards long-term involvement towards promoting sanitation awareness.
  • With taboos and beliefs operating, educating the public is another crucial activity to be undertaken. For instance, many people with access to toilet facilities at their houses still defecate in the open owing to pre-conceived beliefs.
  • Communicating for change in behavior of pubic is a key to education and behavioural changes. Substantial initiatives including partnering with various implementing agencies and voluntary organizations for better sanitation drive should be given impetus, both philosophically and monetarily.
  • Above all, maintaining a momentum is a prime responsibility for achieving a task as such. Therefore, emphasizing the role of rural youth and social workers and motivating them is pivotal in continuing the urge for rural sanitation awareness.

Conclusion

  • A better and healthier tomorrow is not only the government's responsibility but a collective duty to be equally shared between the citizens and government. Government has been taking significant steps to improvise the environment of the nation, however, even the citizens need to buckle up their shoes and contribute in making the dream of "Clean India" a success. Swachh Bharat would therefore make a significant impact on public health and in safeguarding income of the poor, ultimately contributing to the national economy.
  • The outcome and achievement of sanitation initiatives should not be assessed only in terms of number of toilets constructed but should ensure that there is proper and regular use of it and thus, leading to cleanliness and hygiene in the mind. The primary necessity is for strong behavioural changes and strong motivation in making the mission not only a success but also self-sustainable. The intent, endeavour and achievement of the government on sanitation is truly a milestone.

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