What are the objectives of Swachch Bharat Abhiyan? Do you think construction of toilets in sufficient number may eliminate open defecation? Discuss.

What are the objectives of Swachch Bharat Abhiyan? Do you think construction of toilets in sufficient number may eliminate open defecation? Discuss.
Approach:
  • Introduce with SBA
  • Mention objectives of SBA
  • Bring out reasons why construction of toilets alone cannot solve the issue
  • Provide some suggestions
Model Answer :

Launched on 2nd October, 2014, Swachch Bharat Abhiyan is a national campaign by the Government of India to create Clean India by 2019.

Objectives:

  • Elimination of open defecation
  • Conversion of unsanitary toilets to pourflush toilets (a type of pit latrine, usually connected to two pits)
  • Eradication of manual scavenging
  • 100% collection and processing/disposal/reuse/recycling of municipal solid waste
  • A behavioral change in people regarding healthy sanitation practices
  • Generation of awareness among citizens about sanitation and its linkages with public health

However, the number of toilets constructed alone are not exactly an indicator of the success of the SwachhBharat Mission.

Reasons:

  • Many people in rural India prefer open defecation, even when they have access to their own privately-built latrine due to behavioural and cultural reasons.
  • The newly constructed latrines do not fit well with the culture of purity and pollution that also underpins the caste system.
  • People are reluctant to accumulate faeces in latrine pits near their homes; they believe that latrine pits will fill up more quickly than is actually the case; and they are worried about how latrine pits will be emptied.
  • The access to public or community toilet is very poor. Even in the areas where public toilet has been constructed, people do not prefer to use these toilets due to unhygienic conditions.

Way Forward:

  • It is imperative to bring attitudinal changes in people towards sanitation. Awareness programs need to be launched to aware people about the benefits of using toilets and weed out misinformation about use of such toilets and to break traditional practices.
  • Local community empowerment is the most powerful tool.
  • Rather than monitoring how many toilets have been created, a monitoring mechanism should be developed on the levels of open defecation, usage of toilets constructed, amount of solid municipal waste reduced, percentage of cleanliness achieved etc.

Conclusion:

We need to learn lessons from the Pulse Polio campaign, which helped eradicate polio in the country. A sanitation campaign of such epic proportions will help the government achieve its goal of elimination of open defecation. We need to focus beyond the construction of toilets by incorporating best strategies for changing people’s sanitation behaviour.

Subjects : Yojna summary