The Gist of Kurukshetra: February 2015


The Gist of Kurukshetra: February 2015


Swachh Bharat Mission-An Opportunity For Making India Open Defecation Free and Clean?

sanitation has become a hot topic in the country these days and a matter of serious discussion at every level. The talk of ‘Sauchalaya before Devalaya’ is getting louder and louder and further dimension of achieving the open defecation free status and management of solid and liquid waste has been added to it. In his Independence Day (15 August, 2014) speech, the Prime Minister outlined his Government’s priorities, sanitation being one of them and later on unfolded his agenda to achieve status of Swachh Bharat by 02nd October, 2019 during five years from 02nd October, 2014. He explained his Government’s sanitation agenda in his speech at the UN General Assembly on 27th September, 2014 and in his address to the Indian Americans at the Madison Square Garden, New York on 28th September, 2014.

Finally the Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM) (Rural and Urban) has been launched from 02nd October, 2014 with great media hype. For the first time in the history of Independent India important organizations like Indian Armed Forces, University Grant Commission, Industries Associations and State Governments have expressed their solidarity with the PM and taken pledge to be part of the SBM in achieving full sanitation. The electronic and print media for the first time gave full coverage to the event. While appreciating the efforts of previous governments in achieving the present status of sanitation, the Prime Minister has very clearly stated that this is not to draw a political mileage but he actually means it. Suggestions have been invited from the public for drawing a strategy to achieve the goal of sustainable full sanitation.

sanitation has become a hot topic in the country these days and a matter of serious discussion at every level. The talk of ‘Sauchalaya before Devalaya’ is getting louder and louder and further dimension of achieving the open defecation free status and management of solid and liquid waste has been added to it. In his Independence Day (15 August, 2014) speech, the Prime Minister outlined his Government’s priorities, sanitation being one of them and later on unfolded his agenda to achieve status of Swachh Bharat by 02nd October, 2019 during five years from 02nd October, 2014. He explained his Government’s sanitation agenda in his speech at the UN General Assembly on 27th September, 2014 and in his address to the Indian Americans at the Madison Square Garden, New York on 28th September, 2014.

Finally the Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM) (Rural and Urban) has been launched from 02nd October, 2014 with great media hype. For the first time in the history of Independent India important organizations like Indian Armed Forces, University Grant Commission, Industries Associations and State Governments have expressed their solidarity with the PM and taken pledge to be part of the SBM in achieving full sanitation. The electronic and print media for the first time gave full coverage to the event. While appreciating the efforts of previous governments in achieving the present status of sanitation, the Prime Minister has very clearly stated that this is not to draw a political mileage but he actually means it. Suggestions have been invited from the public for drawing a strategy to achieve the goal of sustainable full sanitation.

An oath has been administered to all concerned on 02nd October, 2014 to all Indians for making India clean. Can India achieve the goal of Swachh Bharat? Or this Mission -will also remain like the earlier Central Rural Sanitation Programme(1986), Total Sanitation Campaign (1999) re-named as Nirmal Bharat Abhiyan (2012), no doubt the number of rural households having access to sanitation facilities has increased from 1% in 1981 (9.1 % in 1991, 21.9% in 2001) to 32.7% (Census-2011) by spending Rs. 600 cr under CRSP and Rs.10051 cr under TSC. It can happen, if we look into the support received to SBM from every Indian on 02nd October and especially the Armed Forces, the UGC, the Industries Associations and State Governments? And why not, when poor sanitation is the cause of poverty?

What is Sanitation?

Sanitation is not the disposal of human excreta only as is being understood, it is a comprehensive concept which includes seven components like i) safe disposal of human excreta, ii) usage and maintenance of safe drinking water, iii) personal hygiene, iv) food and home hygiene, v) safe disposal of solid waste, vi) safe disposal of liquid waste, and vii) community/ environment cleanliness. So sanitation is not just creating toilets, it is much larger an issue.

Why Sanitation?

There is empirical evidence to prove that poor sanitation plays havoc with the lives of the people especially children below the age of 5 years. According to an estimate about 88% of the diseases are caused due to poor sanitation which include diseases like Diarrhea, Dysentery, Cholera, Malaria, Hepatitis, Jaundice, Guinea worms, Hook worms, Round worms, Typhoid, Trachoma, Schistosomiasis and Intestinal helminth, causing huge economic loss to the economy in terms loss of health, work days, stunt physical and mental growth, tourism, school days and drop out from schools etc. It has been estimated that India losses 6.4% of its GDP annually for lack of basic sanitation and sanitation facilities (WSP-2006), which comes to about Rs. 2.5 lakh crores. About 25% of total 16 lakh deaths world caused over due to water borne diseases, 4.5 lakh happen in India and of these 90% are children below 5 years.

Performance of Rural Sanitation Programmes In India?

Management Information System of the Union Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation shows that during the last one and half decades under Total Sanitation Campaign/Nirmal Bharat Abhiyan shows that 97329728 (52413989 for BPL) individual households latrines, 1344607 School toilets,472662 anganwadi toilets and 27894 Community Sanitary Complexes have been built between 1999 to 2014 by spending Rs. 15187, however, the Censuus-2011 report has exposed these claims. During this period 28002 Gram Panchayats out of 2.50 lakh, 181 Block Panchayats, and 13 district Panchayats have been declared ODF and have achieved the status of Nirmal Grams, whch is about 10% of the total GPs in India.

According to Cenuss-2011 report, 11.62 cr are without toilets and resort to open defecation. It means 11.62 cr toilets have to be built over the next five year in rural areas .The situation of schools sanitation has also not been very encouraging. If the toilets are built then these are not kept clean and dysfunctional.

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