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Swachh Bharat Mission

Brief Introduction of the Policy
On October 2, 2014, the Swachh Bharat Mission was launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to improve focus on hygiene and achieve universal sanitation across the country. Phase 1 of the mission was implemented as a nationwide campaign, aimed at eliminating open defecation in rural areas from 2014 to 2019 through mass-scale behavior change, construction of household-owned and community-owned toilets and implementation of techniques for monitoring toilet construction & usage.

Need for the Policy
India faces two major challenges – waste generation & management and lack of access to a basic sanitation facility such as a toilet. As per Tata Strategic estimates, India produces ~54 million tonnes of solid waste every year and as per UNICEF India, about 564 million people defecate in the open. According to a World Bank study, absence of toilets and conventional sanitation cost the country 6.4% of its GDP in 2006.

Prior to the Swachh Bharat Mission, programmes such as Total Sanitation Campaign and the ‘Nirmal Bharat Abhiyan’ existed, but were supply driven (wherein NGOs were tasked to construct toilets). As the focus was on the number of toilets constructed, no attention was given to the quality of toilets constructed or bringing about a change in human behaviour. Therefore, some households that started using toilets slipped back to defecating in the open.

Policy Details
The Nirmal Bharat Abhiyan was integrated into the Swachh Bharat Mission. A National Scheme Sanctioning Committee (NSSC) is constituted under the mission for specific periods to approve or revise the action plans. A five-tier implementation mechanism was set up at the national, state, district, block and village levels.

The National Scheme Sanctioning Committee comprises the following:

  • Secretary, Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation – Chairperson
  • Additional Secretary & Financial Advisor, Ministry of Drinking Water & Sanitation
  • Secretary in-charge of Rural Sanitation of the State (whose proposal is to be considered)
  • Joint Secretary in-charge of Sanitation, Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation
  • Two experts on rural sanitation (as nominated by the chairperson)

Phase I:

The objectives in this phase of the Swachh Bharat Mission were as follows:

  • Improve general quality of life in rural areas by promoting cleanliness & hygiene and eliminating open defecation
  • Accelerate sanitation coverage in rural areas to achieve full implementation by October 2, 2019.
  • Motivate communities and Panchayati Raj institutions to adopt sustainable sanitation practices and facilities through awareness creation and health education
  • Encourage cost-effective and appropriate technologies for ecologically safe and sustainable sanitation
  • Develop community-managed sanitation systems (wherever required) focusing on scientific Solid & Liquid Waste Management systems for overall cleanliness in rural areas
  • Create significant positive impact on gender and promote social inclusion by improving sanitation, especially in marginalised communities

Phase II: With successful completion of the first phase, the central government recommenced its work towards sanitation and hygiene status in rural areas with the approval of Phase II of the programme. The mission will be implemented from 2020-21 to 2024-25, with a total estimated outlay of Rs. 140,881 crore (US$ 19.11 billion), focusing on the sustainability of eradicating open defecation and solid & liquid waste management (SLWM).

Objectives of the second phase of Swachh Bharat Mission are as follows:

  • Open Defecation-free Sustainability: It constitutes households in villages, primary schools, panchayat ghars and Anganwadi centres with access to toilets. It also includes at least five information, education and communication (IEC) messages on specified themes for displaying in the villages. If a village has more than 100 households, it should have a community sanitary complex.
  • Solid Waste Management: It includes effective management of solid wastes by at least 80% households and public places by management of biodegradable wastes from cattle and agricultural activities by individual and community compost pit—an adequate segregation and community system of plastic waste.
  • Liquid Waste Management: It includes effective management of liquid waste by at least 80% households and public places; and, management of greywater generated from kitchen use and bathing, storm water from individual and community soak pits and black water due to overflow from septic tanks.
  • Visual Cleanliness: A village will be classified as visually clean if 80% households and all public places are observed to have minimum litter and stagnant water, with zero dumping and accumulation of plastic waste.

Swachh Bharat Mission Urban Areas
Launched in October 2014, the Swachh Bharat Mission Urban Areas includes elimination of open defecation, eradication of manual scavenging, municipal solid waste management, conversion of unsanitary toilets to pour flush toilets and bringing about a behavioural change in people (towards adopting healthy sanitation practices). The programme has been implemented over a five-year period in 4,401 towns. The mission aims to cover 10.4 million households by providing 0.25 million community toilets, 0.26 million public toilets and a solid waste management facility in each town. Under the programme, community toilets are built in residential areas where it is difficult to construct individual household toilets. Public toilets are constructed in designated locations such as tourist places, markets, bus stations and railway stations.

Swachh Vidyalaya Abhiyan
The Swachh Vidyalaya Programme was launched by the Ministry of Human Resource Development under Swachh Bharat Mission. The programme aims to provide separate toilets for boys and girls in all government schools within one year. The ministry financially supports states and union territories to provide toilets for girls & boys in schools under the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) and Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan (RMSA).

Rashtriya Swachhata Kosh
The Swachh Bharat Kosh (SBK) was set up to facilitate and channelise contributions and corporate social responsibility (CSR) funds to achieve the objectives of Swachh Bharat Mission by 2019. The SBK was also used to achieve the objective of improving cleanliness levels in rural and urban areas including schools. To incentivise contributions from individuals and corporates, tax rebates were given wherever possible.

Swachh Bharat Mission – Key Developments

  • In February 2021, the government introduced Swachh Bharat 2.0, focusing on complete fecal sludge management. Apart from this, wastewater treatment, segregation of garbage, reduction in single-use plastics, decrease in air pollution by managing waste from construction sites and demolition activities, along with bioremediation of all legacy dump sites will be taken into consideration.
  • In January 2021, the government announced to build >7 million toilets in urban areas and several transformative initiatives have been implemented.        
  • In December 2020, the government launched the ‘Swachhata Abhiyan’, a mobile application developed to identify and geotag insanitary latrines and manual scavengers so that these can be replaced with sanitary latrines and manual scavengers can be rehabilitated to provide dignity of life to them.
  • In August 2020, the government launched the 'Swachh Bharat Mission Academy', an IVR-based training course with modules on Open Defecation Free (ODF) Plus programme.
  • In August 2020, the government launched Rashtriya Swachhata Kendra, an interactive experience centre that informs people regarding the ‘Swachh Bharat Mission’. The centre will provide digital and outdoor installations that have been arranged to impart information, awareness, and education on the importance of cleanliness and related aspects.

Swachh Bharat Mission – Key Investments

  • In February 2021, the government allocated Rs. 141,678 crore (US$ 19.22 billion) to tackle water, land & air pollution besides waste management over the next five years.
  • In October 2020, the National Bank for Agriculture & Rural Development (Nabard) disbursed Rs. 12,298 crore (US$ 1.66 billion) under the Swachh Bharat Mission Gramin (SBM-G) for construction of 32.9 million household toilets.
  • In February 2020, the government allocated Rs. 12,300 crore (US$ 1.69 billion) for Swachh Bharat.
  • In December 2019, 73 central public-sector enterprises (CPSEs) were nudged by their administrative department – the Department of Public Enterprises (DPE) – to spend over Rs. 1,000 crore (US$ 135.70 million) towards the Swachh Bharat Mission.

According to an estimation of the Toilet Board Coalition, the sanitation economy (a robust marketplace of products and services, renewable resource flows, data and information that is sustainable, innovative, cost saving and revenue generating) of India is set to grow until US$ 62 billion by 2021. The Swachh Bharat Mission is a revolutionary change in the country’s sanitation drive. This flagship movement has led to a significant increase in the demand for construction and usage of toilets. It has also opened numerous windows of opportunities for stakeholders and sanitary market players.