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Swachh Bharat Abhiyan- Impact and Way Forward

Posted in Finance Articles, Total Reads: 4880 , Published on August 28, 2016

India is the second most populous country in the world. In India, more than half of the total population has mobile phones but around 60% of people do not have access to private toilets. Majority of the population of India defecate in the open. This causes a lot of dangerous diseases putting public health into danger. In 2011, as many as seven lakh students died due to diarrhea. In rural areas, the girls stop going to schools due to unavailability of toilets as they grow older.

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Gandhiji once said, “So long as you do not take the broom and the bucket in your hands, you cannot make your towns and cities clean."

Following his footsteps, on the 145th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, the PM himself cleaned the road laying the foundation of “Swachh Bharat Abhiyan” which aims to eradicate open defecation by 2019. The objectives of the Abhiyan are to promote public cleanliness and sanitation and transform India into a Clean India. The government has constructed over more than 95 lakh toilets within one year of launch of the Abhiyan.

The overall targets of the government have been shown in the chart below:

The whole Swachh Baharat Abhiyan will be implemented in three stages. The first stage seeks to encourage general public participation in this Abhiyan. To accomplish this stage, Prime Minister Narender Modi himself took the broom and cleaned the road. Several other ministers and prominent people from different sections came out to clean the roads. These campaigns instilled a feeling of self-participation among the general public. The second stage is to spread cleanliness drives in transportation sector in the country. The third phase focuses on Theme-based cleanliness sprees which can target all the sections of the society. Every theme based cleanliness drive will continue upto a period of 15 days. The themes can be based on hospitals, tourism, public institutions, water bodies and many others. All the three stages will be accomplished with the support of concerned Ministries.

The Ministry of Urban Development has started a portal to provide training related to solid waste management, improved sanitation practices etc. Swachh Bharat App has been developed which helps in locating the toilets at near distances. Various state governments are taking a lot of steps to promote Swachh Bharat Abhiyan in their respective states. West Bengal is in the top list among the states to build the new toilets followed by Gujarat, Karnataka, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh. However the states like Odisha, Chhattisgarh, Bihar, Punjab, Jammu & Kashmir, Mizoram and Nagaland are in the bottom of the least.

The Swachh Bharat Abhiyan has been well supported by the people from different section of the society. From the Bollywood celebrities to the sportspersons, politicians to the business tycoons, all came forward for this noble mission. The corporates are showing great interest in community cleaning. The social media helped a lot in making the Abhiyan a buzz for long time. A lot of events and competitions are being organized all across the schools, colleges and universities. The students take oaths to keep their houses and surroundings clean.

But there are a lot of challenges in achieving the mission of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan.

The target to build12 crore toilets in rural areas by October 2019 seems unachievable. A lot of toilets remain unused in the rural and tribal areas because the people prefer defecating in the open fields. In some areas, due to poor waste management, the people are not happy with the initiative. In India, there is a lack of the public bins which makes people throw the waste on roads only. The waste keeps accumulating in the limited bins making the life of the nearby residents very miserable. The people employed in the cleaning department for public areas are not motivated enough to keep the areas clean. Lack of accountability from their part dilapidates the situation further. Also the people are not trained enough to manage the wastes properly.

There are a lot of ways through which the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan can create a big difference. The people should be made aware of the importance of having private toilets. Mere taking oaths would not help but actual commitment through continuous efforts should be into action. The solid waste management is another herculean task where the government should put more focus. The private sector should be encouraged to invest their profits for this social cause as a part of their corporate social responsibility. Only the efforts of the government won’t bring fruits. It is not just the responsibility of the government but it is the responsibility of every citizen of India to keep the country clean. The general public should come forward and make the Swachh Bharat a reality.

This article has been authored by Swagat Kumar from IIM Raipur





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