A unique highlight of the past couple of years can be attributed to the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by the Government of India between the years 2014 to 2019. The main objective of this campaign was to raise awareness amongst the public when it came to cleaner surroundings and better infrastructure. The campaign’s very literal meaning translates to “Clean India”, and one of its main agendums was to eliminate the risk posed by open defecation. This program has found its way not only into big cities and metropolitans but extremely interior parts of the country as well.
The initiative was launched on October 2nd, 2014 from Rajghat. This campaign also happens to be the biggest clean-up drive across India with huge turnouts from all walks of life. The campaign was divided into 2 facets: one targeting the rural regions of the country and one concerning developed regions like cities and metropolitans. The rural initiative is spearheaded by the Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation while the drive in the city falls under the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs. A rather large emphasis of this campaign was to improve sanitation facilities across the nation and has built around 86 million toilets in 2014 to support the cause.
The government took quite a lot of initiatives to ensure the smooth functioning of this campaign. The first one would be allocating the CPWD to deal with the waste disposal systems in government offices. The Indian Railways also decided to provide cleaning on demand, the better quality of bed linen, bio-toilets, and dustbins across all the compartments. Another innovative idea was to collaborate with the Digital India campaign in coming up with solar-powered panels attached to dustbins to alert the workers when the dustbins are full and in need of disposal.
The performance monitoring for this campaign has been carried out through various mediums, one which included the introduction of the Swachh Bharat Mission mobile app to keep people updated with the latest details and raise awareness. The government has also launched quite an extensive network of surveys across the country to form an idea about the sanitation scenario and to monitor the developments made for improving the scenario.
Performance across the cities is measured across the following criteria:
- Collection of Waste
- Processing and Disposal of Waste
- Open defecation
- Provision of community Toilets
- The spread of information and general awareness
The campaign has shed light on improper wastage disposal systems across the country and emphasized the need for cleaner surroundings. The problem that open defecation posed was the multiple risks associated with health and quite a sizeable chunk of the population being involved in manual scavenging work. The World Health Organization also gave an estimate which proved that the number of diarrheal deaths across the country has drastically reduced. Almost 91 percent of the populace in the state of Haryana now has access to proper closed sanitation facilities and this, in turn, has helped to improve the quality of human life.