On January 19/20, 2018, the Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation organized a two-day National Consultation on Swachh Bharat Mission (Gramin) in Gurugram, Haryana. The consultation was attended by the senior most officers from states and Swachh Bharat Mission Directors from across the country. The participants focused on a variety of issues related to SBM(G), including progress so far, way forward, with a particular focus on IEC (Information Education Communication) efforts underway in the states.
With the SBM entering its pre-final year of implementation, the states shared their plans on achieving an Open Defecation Free status in 2018, with a strong focus on behaviour change communication, delivered through a mixture of targeted inter-personal communication and mass communication. The states shared their plans for sustaining their ODF status after achievement, by ensuring that the toilets constructed under the Mission are used by all members of every household in a village. The state IEC plans for 2018 were presented and discussed with the ministry.
The ministry also held special sessions on resolving issues faced by the states on a case-to-case basis, with a special focus on the states of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Odisha. Young professionals, deployed as Zila Swachh Bharat Preraks in districts, also attended the workshop and interacted with ministry officials to share the work being done by them at the grassroots and were assured of consistent support by the senior officers of the ministry in their role as valuable resource persons for the districts and states. Entrepreneurs in the sanitation sector were also invited to make presentations to the states on innovative toilet technologies developed by them that can help scale up the design and production of toilets, and help design toilets that are easier for use by senior citizens and the differently- abled persons .
The Secretary, Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation, Parameswaran Iyer in his inaugural address at the workshop, spoke about the long way that the mission had come since its launch. He shared that 3 lakh villages, 300 districts and 10 states/Union Territories have been declared Open Defecation Free, and that the rural sanitation coverage today stands at over 76%, up from 39% at the time of the launch of the mission in October 2014. He also expressed confidence that, with the sustained and focused implementation that the Mission was receiving by the state governments, the Prime Minister’s vision of a Swachh Bharat by October 2, 2019 would be realized.
–Feature pic is representational