Q. It has been a halfway mark since Swachh Bharat Mission began its journey. India entered into a phase of transformation through this scheme. However, like other schemes this one also has come under criticism of giving primacy for quantity over quality. In this context analyse performance of Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM). 

It has been a halfway mark since Swachh Bharat Mission began its journey. India entered into a phase of transformation through this scheme. However, like other schemes this one also has come under criticism of giving primacy for quantity over quality. In this context analyse performance of Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM). 

Impact of SBM:

1. Last 3 years have seen an increase from 42% to 65.02% in national sanitation coverage

2. Five states, 149 districts and 2.08 lakh villages have been declared Open Defecation Free (ODF)

3. 50% of urban wards have achieved 100% door to door solid waste collection

4. Number of schools with separate toilet facility for girls has increased from 37% to 91%

Policy shift led to ODF Monitoring Committees (Nigrani Samitis) being formed at village level, reflecting community ownership of SBM. Their key task was not to count number of toilets built but to ensure that no individual from village resorts to open defecation.

Key constraints:

However, there are certain key constraints which are pulling back SBM from attaining its full potential like:

1. Lack of institutional capacity at the grassroots to deliver sanitation services. 

2. District collectors are monitored frequently resulting in competition to meet targets at speed. But absence of corresponding investments in administrative capacity, these targets have created conditions for a race to the top that undermines core objectives of program.

3. Government has been heavily dependent on engaging film stars and outside players in propagating the message of SBM while without strengthening local institutional capacity and community engagement. 

4. A phone survey conducted by RICE economists in July 2016 found only 2.6% respondents in rural UP and 5.4% in Delhi were aware that SBM promotes toilet use. One reason for this is the lack of on-ground engagement.

5. Policy shift led to ODF Monitoring Committees (Nigrani Samitis) being formed at village level, reflecting community ownership of SBM. Their key task was not to count number of toilets built but to ensure that no individual from village resorts to open defecation.

Way ahead:

Bringing behavioural changes among people is most important part of movements like SBM. For these strengthening local institutions, engaging communities and creating awareness would be the most appropriate way.

Achieving ODF status alone is not sufficient for success of SBM, attention to complete cycle is required, where toilets not only need to be built and used but waste generated also needs to be collected and treated properly. The India Sanitation Coalition advocates safe and sustainable sanitation including design, implementation and practice.

Swachh Shakti Saptah, a week long programme of activities across country was launched to highlight the role of women in SBM. Women across the country have championed the cause of SBM at grassroots and their empowerment would entail more positive outcomes. 

Conclusion:

Turning large and populous country like India around is not an easy task. However, in less than 3 years we see that India is already course correcting and with momentum building, pace of change going forward will be much faster.

Sources 

http://www.pmindia.gov.in/en/major_initiatives/swachh-bharat-abhiyan/

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-others/swachh-bharat-the-progress-so-far/

http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/Team-reviews-progress-of-Swachh-Bharat-Mission/article14415873.ece

 

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