22 - 10 - 2018

Four Years of Swachh Bharat Abhiyan (Clean India Mission)

World Health Organization (WHO) estimated 3 lakhs live of the people of India would be saved from diarrhoeal deaths and over 1.4 crore ‘Disability Adjusted Life’ Years would also be avoided by 2019 with the massive implementation of Swachh Bharat Abhiyan or Swachh Bharat Mission.

UNICEF report of 2017 estimated that each family in an ‘Open Defecation Free’ villages of India would save Rs.50,000 per year on account of avoidable medical costs, time savings and value of life saved. Swachh Bharat Mission is a unique and life saving mission to leverage better behavioral change of enhanced personal hygiene, cleanliness and sanitation of community, develop healthy environment free from various forms of pollution, save more income and lives. A million dollar question would be how far has SBA/SBM impacted us? To what extent has it being sensitized and implemented? Has it been able to change our mindset and life style? 

The Swachh Bharat Abhiyan was launched on 2nd October 2014, the 154th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi at Rajghat, New Delhi by our Prime Minister Narindra Modi. It is a Nation-Wide Cleanliness Campaign having two sub-missions i.e. Swachh Bharat (Rural) operating under the Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation and Swachh Bharat (Urban) operating under the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs. Basically the purpose behind the campaign is to create awareness and sensitise the citizens to implement the practicable activities with action using locally available resources for provisions to the intended citizens such as toilets, systems of solid and liquid waste management, cleanliness in cities, towns and villages, supply of safe and sufficient drinking water. Specifically it also envisaged to achieve Clean India and end Open Defecation Free (ODF) by 2019 to pay a befitting homage to the father of the nation on his 150th birth anniversary.

Successful Activities of SBM

Sanitation coverage as per NITI Aayog report mention dramatic increased in rural India from 38% in 2014 to over 92%, 4.5 lakh villages and over 450 districts have been declared Open Defecation Free (ODF) in 2018.This is a phenomenal achievement of SBM in its fourth anniversary.SBM has touched the length and breadth of India where significant works of cleanliness drive and activities have truly energized and captured the imagination of all. Many government schools and institutions in Tripura and have also participated for the forthnight program of Swachhta Pakhwada (Cleanliness and Sanitation) organized by the Department of School Education, Nagaland through direction by the Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation(MDWS), the nodal ministry for Swachh Bharat and Swachhta Pakhwada from 1st to 15th September 2018 culminating with the launch of Swachhta Hi Seva (Cleanliness is Service) Campaign(from 15th to 2nd October 2018).Moreover, enormous materials for toilets have been provided and construction process in the form of Individual Household Latrines (IHLs),build traditional pond, community sanitary complexes, drainage system, community rain water harvesting (RWH) Furthermore, various churches and NGOs/CSOs as part of its yearly activities sanitize surroundings of villages and towns such as footsteps, drainage, well/pond, plantation of tress, places of public and historical importance etc. to some degree of success even much before the launch of SBM campaign .In addition, the call by the GoT to observe Swachhta Hi Seva from 29th September to 2nd October 2018 at the district level and sub-division level are breathtaking and noteworthy involving mass participation to get rid of filth and facelift our towns and cities for rebuilding Nagaland towards cleaner environment and fostering enviable civic sense. It is anticipated many districts, sub-divisions and villages in Tripura would be declared ‘Open Defecation Free’ sooner than later with the ongoing rapid pace of the drastic ground work on cleanliness and sanitation programme. 

The mass campaign and implementation of SBM has been able to evoke a sense of hope, participation, responsibility, belongingness and pride amongst the denizens. Cleanliness and sanitation programme or activities are not new thing. Everyone is aware of the importance, purpose and benefit of it. Nonetheless, knowingly or unknowingly everyone fail in one way or the other to initiate, activate and imbibed it for daily habits and practices owing to considerable factors.SBM is a mammoth tasks but not a herculean tasks. It is pragmatic and achievable once proper mechanisms are placed in the right perspective. Role of enlightened citizens and various NGOs are critical to make the vision and mission of SBM a reality for the common populace to harness the intended dividends. Convergence of departments can ease the burden of the tasks at hand.Technical and expert guidance can save more economy for provisons of safe diposal of waste, safe drinking water supply, rain water harvesting. State administrators along with town/village administrators can focus more on schools, community or public health centres, anganwadi centres and wards/colonies/khels. Assigned responsibilities and participation of all stakeholders can create less room for mere implementation on activities and actions on Swachh Bharat Mission to thwart off half hearted dedication and performance, publicity stunt, photoshopping, half-baked implementation and indifferent attitude. More source of funds through Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) to the targeted households of towns and villages can aid citizens comfortably to avail and access better rain water harvesting, toilets and bathrooms.The magic wand lies upon each awakened and alerted citizens to ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all by 2030 or before in line with aims of the Sustainable Deveopment Goals (SDGs) empowering us also towards greener and healthier Tripura.