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Beyond ODF – making way towards a 'Sampoorna Swachh Bharat'

Swachh Bharat Mission more than just a government programme, it became a people movement following our PM’s clarion call for an ODF India from the ramparts of Red Fort, on 2nd October 2014.


Sentinel Digital DeskBy : Sentinel Digital Desk

  |  3 Oct 2022 4:45 AM GMT

Gajendra Singh Shekhawat

(The writer is Minister for Jal Shakti, Government of India)

Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM) became more than just a government programme, it became a people movement following our Prime Minister's clarion call for an Open Defecation Free (ODF) India from the ramparts of Red Fort, on 2nd October 2014. The results are there for the world to see. 110 million toilets were built and 550 million of our rural population provided access to household sanitation facilities making India achieve ODF status and other significant social impacts, on 2nd Oct 2019. The Prime Minister was presented the Bill and Melinda Gate Foundation's Global Goal Keepers Award 2019, for the significantly improved health outcomes and subsequent economic gains.

A healthy nation is an empowered one. Under the dynamic and visionary leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, SBM has made a significant contribution to placing India as the fifth leading economy in the world. An independent study by UNICEF reported that an average household living in ODF villages, accrued cumulative benefits of Rs 50,000 per year, and households with a new toilet saw a one-time increase in property value by Rs 19,000. On average, the total benefits of new household toilets were found to exceed costs by 4.7 times. As we gear up to celebrate Swachh Bharat Diwas 2022 on the birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi – on 2nd October, SBM is well over two years into its phase II and moving forward from the achievement of ODF to now striving for ODF plus. Let us understand that better – 'ODF plus', the key objective of phase II of the SBM-G, comprises elements beyond construction and use of toilets and towards holistic universal sanitation delineating the sustained usage of toilets, eco-friendly and economically viable management of solid and liquid waste, including bio-degradable and non-bio-degradable waste generated from our homes and communities and subsequent visually clean surroundings. This is in line with the Gandhian principles of 'Sampoorna swachhata' and also supports our aim to generate livelihoods as part of phase II of the cleanliness mission, through the dedicated and specific technological interventions for Solid & Liquid Waste Management (SLWM).

In thousands of villages across India, solid waste is now being managed through waste segregation into wet and dry waste at the household level and through its door-to-door collection. Panchayats and women Self Help Groups (SHGs) have been and are being trained to manage the wet waste through composting and where possible producing biogas, subsequently becoming modes of income generation. Plastic waste from households and institutions is being managed through collection and segregation centres set up across villages with arrangements for forwarding linkages. Plastic waste is shredded and converted into suitable forms allowing for further usage in activities like road construction and use in cement factories, generating livelihoods in the process. For example, the sale of manure and dry waste collected in the Gram Panchayat of Vande in Karnataka fetches around 88,000 per month.

Similarly, aided by its 100 KLD water treatment system, the treated wastewater used for Pisciculture in the Gram Panchayat of Kurak Jagir in Haryana has raised about Rs 1 lakh annually from fish farming. These are just two examples among several similar stories reported daily from across rural India.

Also creating more such avenues is the GOBARDHAN scheme. Our villages face a challenge in managing animal and other bio-waste including kitchen leftovers, crop residue and market waste. Prime Minister Modi ji gave the idea of making 'kachhre se kanchan' (waste to wealth), hence GOBARDhan, wherein, as many as 333 Gobardhan plants across 125 districts are not only providing clean fuel for cooking and/or lighting up numerous households but also jobs and income source to many. This is truly a 'waste to wealth' system which supports bio-degradable waste recovery and conversion of waste into resources, reducing GHG emissions, reducing our dependence on the import of crude oil, boosting entrepreneurship, and promoting organic farming.

For managing domestic wastewater (barring water from toilets), technically termed 'grey water', the Sujlam 1.0 and Sujlam 2.0 campaigns were rolled out to ensure that this waste water does not contaminate valuable rural natural water resources such as ponds, lakes, and rivers. For managing the faecal sludge, we are encouraging states to convert all-single pit toilets into twin pit toilets, where the treatment is in-situ. For other types of toilets like septic tanks, the focus is on setting up Faecal Sludge management systems comprising collection, transport, and treatment of septage and faecal waste in Faecal Sludge Treatment Plants.

Besides all the above, there are extensive behavioural change campaigns to nudge people towards adopting safe sanitation systems and practices. There is Swachhata Hi Seva (SHS) campaign– SBMs annual cleanliness fortnight, focusing on cleaning of legacy waste and garbage vulnerable sites, ensuring segregation of waste at source, construction of waste collection and segregation sheds, purchase of waste collection vehicles, door to door collection of non-biodegradable waste, keeping water bodies clean, tree plantation, implementing Single Use Plastic (SUP) ban etc. This year over 2 crore people participated through shaman in SHS 2022, and over 460,000 legacy waste dumps were identified and cleared.

What have all our efforts achieved in two and a half years? I am proud to share that more than 1.14 lakh villages have declared themselves as ODF Plus and around 3 lakh villages have initiated solid and liquid waste management works, embarking on their journey to become ODF Plus.

The target is to have six lakh ODF plus villages and while doing so provide jobs and raise income levels in rural India. As responsible and proud citizens of the country, under the visionary leadership of our Prime Minister Narendra Modi, let us unite in our effort of 'Swachhta se Swablamban' and be a shining example of total sanitation and hygiene to the global community!

Jai hind!

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