What are the hits and misses in the implementation of the Swachh Bharat Mission so far?

Published: October 21, 2018

Swachh Bharat Mission is a nationwide cleanliness campaign which aims to make India “open-defecation free” (ODF) India by 2 October 2019, the 150th anniversary of the birth of Mahatma Gandhi. The mission aims to clean up the streets, roads and infrastructure of India’s cities, towns, and rural areas.

Swachh Bharat Mission: Hits and Misses

Hits

  • Cleanliness became the focal point of the policy making for the first time in the independent India.
  • The SBM’s Gramin which is the rural arm of the mission has constructed 86.7 million Individual Household Latrines and raised sanitation access to 94% in rural areas.
  • 5,07,369 villages are now ‘open defecation free.
  • Urban toilet coverage is now 87% of the target.
  • Nearly three-fourths of the wards in the country have door-to-door collection of municipal waste.

Misses

  • The outcome audit doesn’t correlate with the objectives of the mission.
  • The independent audits in the states of Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh has shown that the social change that the SBM hopes to achieve remains elusive and traditionally oppressed communities continue to manually remove filth from dry latrines used by the upper castes.
  • The CAG audit has questioned the open defecation free tag to Gujrat and raised red flag over the implementation of mission in various other states.
  • There is a complete failure in enforcing the legal provisions related to municipal solid waste, protection of water sources and pollution control due to inadequate machinery apparatus.

The missing links shows the lack of commitment to enshrine the idea of Satyagrah se Swachhagrah. Together with eradication of manual scavenging the SBM mission must go ahead to ensure that manual cleaning of septic tanks is stopped.

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