What were the four pillars of rural sanitation revolution under Swachh Bharat mission?

The government had set the target to make India open defecation free by 2019 as a tribute to the father of nation Mahatma Gandhiji. 2nd October 2019 is the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi.

Four Pillars of Rural Sanitation Revolution

Political Leadership

The leadership for the movement was provided from the Prime Minister himself. Inspired by the Prime Minister’s outreach various chief ministers took up the cause. This resulted in a domino-like effect, cascading leadership to the chief secretary and in turn to collectors, all the way down to sarpanchs at the grassroots level. The political leadership was the prime catalyst to the large-scale transformations.

 Public Financing

The political will was backed by budgetary support. The large-scale transformation was made possible due to committed funding of over Rs 1 lakh crore for ensuring universal access to sanitation. About 90 per cent of the 10 crore households which received toilets were from socially and economically weaker sections of society. They received financial incentives to build and use toilets.


The Swachh Bharat mission partnered with implementors and influencers alike — national and international development agencies, media houses, civil society, celebrities, as well as all departments/ministries of the government of India, who pledged an additional $6 billion for sanitation in their respective sectors.

This “all hands on deck” approach made sanitation mission everyone’s business which helped to mainstream it into the national consciousness.

Peoples’ Participation

The Swachh Bharat mission trained over half a million swachhagrahis, grassroots motivators, who triggered behaviour change in every village of India.

The mission inspired ordinary people to undertake extraordinary roles and inspired others to build and use toilets.

Stories of sanitation champions emerged from every nook and corner of the country. A large-scale transformation can be truly successful if it captures the imagination of the people, and becomes a people’s movement or a Jan Andolan.

Achilles heel

These four pillars provided the Swachh Bharat mission with strategic focus and administrative disruption. This led to efficient on-ground implementation, which has traditionally been the Achilles heel of large programmes in India.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *