7 Indian states and 1,789 Cities are Open Defecation Free: Gov’t

While the Swachh Bharat program created some controversies, there are some achievements for the Government to show to the public. There has been support and cooperation from states broadly.

7 Indian states and 1,789 Cities are Open Defecation Free
7 Indian states and 1,789 Cities are Open Defecation Free

The Swachh India campaign has been successful so far with five more states after Kerala, Himachal Pradesh and Sikkim, to become Open Defecation Free (ODF) zones. These states are Gujarat, Haryana, Uttarakhand, Mizoram and Punjab that are poised to achieve the ODF status, the government said.

The theme of Swachh Bharat Abhiyan is based on a vision of achieving clean India that Mahatma Gandhi dreamt of. The seriousness of the government towards this program is visible with over 1 lakh public and community toilets being constructed since the onset of the program.

In India, currently, there are 49.62 million more households that have toilets. Percentage wise, the households with toilets have risen from 38.7% in 2014 to 69.04% in 2017. Further, 250,000 of India’s 649,481 villages have been declared free of open defecation.

There are two catagories of this program: Swachh Bharat Mission (Urban) and Swachh Bharat Mission (Gramin).

World Bank is also involved in this program by providing financial and technical support to the government.

The implementation of Swachh Bharat has been termed by World Bank as ‘moderately unsatisfactory’.  Although a survey by an autonomous government body–Swacch Sarvekshan 2017 – speaks otherwise. They have found that nine in 10 (91.29%) rural households uses the toilets that they have access.

The official status of the Swachh Bharat implementation is given below.

Swacch Bharat Mission (Gramin)

— 38.7% of rural households had individual household latrines (IHHL) on October 2, 2014, the day SBM was launched;

— 249,811 villages were open-defecation free (ODF) in 2017, of which 63% (157,935) were verified officially;

— 207 districts are ODF, of which 62% (127) were verified officially.

Swacch Bharat Mission (Urban)

As on September 29, 2017, this is what data from the ministry of drinking water and sanitation show:

— 44,650 wards (of 82,725) have 100% door-to-door waste collection;

— 12,526 community toilets built in three years;

— 11,806 public toilets constructed.

The Swachh Bharat program is one of the most uncontroversial major projects undertaken by the Modi government. Even the opposition has hardly been critical of this project and has largely cooperated with the government to implement the program. This project is not merely a cleanliness programs, but also a developmental one. If all households of India have latrines attached to their houses, it also speaks of development and an infrastructural buildup with long term impact. Even, ardent critics of Modi, in the likes of Mamata Banerjee, have not spoken a word against it and West Bengal has achieved 100 percent implementation of it, according to IHHL.