India is yet to reach the milestone of 100% Open Defecation Free. They will definitely achieve it by the end of December 2018 with its extensive sanitation coverage. Narendra Modi launched Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan on October 2, 2014. In his speech, he said “A clean India would be the best tribute India could pay to Mahatma Gandhi on his 150th birth anniversary in 2019,”
An independent verification agency NARSS conducted a survey on 2017-18. It was under the World Bank support project to the Swachh Bharat Mission Gramin (SBM-G). According to the study, it is certain that about 96% of villages were verified to be Open Defecation Free (ODF) as various districts and states have already declared it. It is a massive boost to the dream of defecation free India of Narendra Modi.
Here is a tweet from Amit Malviya where he mentions, ” International Public Health Body World Health Organization has praised Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s first ever scheme Swachh Bharat Mission, saying that if it achieves its October 2019 target, it could avert up to 3 lakh deaths.”
International public health body World Health Organisation has praised Prime Minister Narendra Modi's first ever scheme Swachh Bharat Mission, saying that if it achieves its October 2019 target, it could avert up to 3 lakh deaths. https://t.co/GRoF877oC8
— Amit Malviya (@amitmalviya) August 4, 2018
Narendra Modi’s Swachh Bharat Mission saves lives
According to the report from the Minister of state for drinking water and sanitation Ramesh Chandappa Jigajinagi, a total number of 561.75 lakh toilets are built yet. So far under the Swachh Bharat Mission (rural) as reported by the Minister of state for drinking water and sanitation Ramesh Chandappa Jigajinagi.
The biggest campaign ever on cleanliness by Narendra Modi has drawn attention from all over the world. As the WHO has also praised Swachch Bharat Abhiyaan and reports that there has been an incredible decrease in the death rates caused due to diarrhoea and malnutrition for availing to every household.
Here we present few collective initiatives of the government and the citizens to make India Open Defecation Free (ODF)
1. Darbhanga, Bihar
One of the most backward district of Bihar, Darbhanga where women and children of Brahmpura village defecated in the open. Anand Jha and his team took an active initiative to build over 1,500 toilets in seven communities across the district.
Mr Jha aged 48 years had been grown up watching the women from his family wake up early in the morning and late into the night, heading for the fields to defecate.
He later went to Delhi for acquiring higher education. In 2015 he returned to his village after 35 years and the problem of open defecation still prevalent in the village.
Mr Jha noticed that the villagers misused the government schemes, they took pictures of existing toilets repeatedly and sent them to the government for reimbursements. There were also people who wished to construct new toilets but had no money. As per the government scheme the beneficiary is reimbursed after he builds the toilet.
To avail, the villagers with the toilet facilities Anand Jha and his wife Nivedita started constructing toilets with their own money initially. They took the help of then-district magistrate who assured timely reimbursements.
After the initial reimbursements, they used to rotate the fund and built other toilets and within the first-month toilets for 100 families were built.
Later, 550 villages of the Darbhanga district adopted the Brahmpura model and eventually every village were declared open defecation free.
2. Jehanabad, Bihar
Jehanabad, another district of Bihar, was battling with open defecation problem. Nearly, 14,000 women organised 1,000 self-help groups (SHGs) operating in different villages of the region. These women initiated in cleaning up the area and convincing people to build toilets to make Jehanabad open defecation free. The volunteers even met challenges where men in the village did not support the cause. They genuinely believed that a toilet was an unnecessary construction, especially with borrowed money. Even they damaged under constructed toilets.
They got financial assistance from the World Bank and daily savings collected through SHGs. Successfully, under the flagship of Jeevika scheme, 580,000 SHGs have been set up and the Bihar Rural Development Minister, Shrawan Kumar said that the government plans to increase them to a million by 2018-19.
3. Port Blair, Andaman and Nicobar Islands
Port Blair became the fourth open defecation free urban local body in India. The initiative to build community toilets had paved the way to make Swachh Bharat Mission a grand success.
In a study at the beginning 0f 2016, a door to door survey to check the problem of defecating in the open. About 7,000 people were defecating in public and that 1,600 households did not have access to toilets.
For the purpose of construction of the community toilets, the Port Blair Municipal Council sanctioned Rs 2.5 crore in response to the study.
They even built concrete paths to ensure that the toilets are accessible to the people in general. The construction in 48 areas with 256 seats each is under progress. They also conducted a large-scale awareness campaign to teach people about the need to maintain these toilets.
4. Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu
A unique initiative of crowdfunding in the Coimbatore city had helped to build more than 3000 toilets. The district collector Vijayakarthikeyan is the brainchild behind the effort.
Toiletfirst is a website which is also available as a mobile application provides all information. It regarding the availability and construction of toilets. It facilitates all sort of details regarding government funds for toilets, also helps in the allocation of land for building new toilets and tracking the condition of the toilets after they had finished making it.
By and large, people from all walks of life are associating in this initiative of building toilets. The government initially provides a sum of Rs 8000. Moreover, the rest of the collection from the sponsors.
Toiletfirst has gained a massive following through social media. Within two months of its inception the organisation to build 600 toilets.
Interestingly, the Haryana government has taken up a new initiative which states “No Toilet, No Bride”. Hence, this scheme’s linkage is to the social norms of the marriage market and access to sanitation. The movie “Toilet” depicts the necessity of a toilet for a newly wedded bride. Further, it shows how the protagonist struggled to make it happen after revolting with his own family as well.
In Haryana villages, walls carry a painted message: “I won’t allow my daughter to marry into a home without toilets.”
The government spread the awareness campaign through billboards, posters and radio advertisements using phrases such as “No Toilet, No Bride” and “No Loo, No I do.”
This social awareness campaign has encouraged families with marriageable girls to ask for construction of a toilet in the prospective groom’s family. The Construction of toilet has also become a precondition for marriage. Therefore, with this initiative, the private sanitation coverage in Haryana has increased by 21 per cent.
The Swachh Bharat Mission has enabled India to promote travel and tourism. People from all over the world visit India to explore its unmatched beauty and glory.
It is indeed a significant step by Narendra Modi has led to change the fate of India by making India free from defecation and building toilets.